NRDC Endorses E-Stewards Certification for E-Waste Recycling; NYC Lawsuit Parties in Settlement Discussions

Two quick e-waste updates.

First, this week NRDC endorsed the Basel Action Network’s e-Stewards certification program for e-waste recyclers.  In a nutshell, the e-Stewards program relies on independent, third-party auditors to verify safe and ethical e-waste disposal, and is awarded to companies that recycle electronics without using dangerous and environmentally damaging practices that far too many in U.S. electronics recycling industry rely upon – the use of municipal landfills and incinerators, U.S. prison labor for disposing of toxic old electronics, or the export to developing countries.  As revealed in this fantastic 60 Minutes piece (featuring Allen and BAN’s Jim Puckett), e-waste exported to developing countries is frequently handled in abhorrent conditions that put worker and community health at extreme risk.

As my colleague, NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz, said in announcing NRDC’s endorsement:

"This initiative is sorely needed. Many e-waste recyclers claim to be green, but in reality they rely on unsafe and ecologically damaging methods like dumping millions of tons of toxic waste each year in China, India and Africa. E-Stewards provide businesses and consumers with a first-of-a-kind seal to identify the truly responsible recyclers."

More information on BAN’s program – including a list of certified recyclers – is available on its e-Stewards website.

Second, the parties to the NYC e-waste lawsuit – which was brought by industry to challenge NYC’s landmark municipal e-waste recycling law and attacks the principles of producer responsibility – are engaged in settlement negotiations.  As a party to the action, NRDC is participating in those talks, the subject of which is confidential.  Suffice to say, though, that the parties have all come to the table in good faith in the hopes that the matter can be amicably resolved without any further recourse to the court.  We hope to be able to pass along further news soon.

Meanwhile, if you are a New Yorker, now is the time to let your state legislators know that you want them to pass a strong e-waste law that will give all the state’s residents access to free and convenient electronics recycling.  Please lend your support for Assembly Bill 9049/Senate Bill 6047.