The Basel Action Network (BAN), based in Seattle, Washington, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the ideals of the Basel Convention through a network of global organizations. Its mission is to eliminate the transfer of toxic waste from industrialized countries to developing countries. It has created and promotes what it calls "The e-Stewards Initiative," which is designed to recognize responsible recyclers of e-waste. BAN's e-Steward initiative was inspired by a report authored by BAN, with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition in 2002, which found that about 80% of the e-waste collected for recycling in North America does not get recycled in North America, but is instead exported to Asia.
BAN publishes a list of e-Stewards that have signed its "Electronics Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship" and encourages the use of these organizations for recycling of computers and electronics. Recyclers that sign the pledge agree to:
▲ Ensure that e-waste does not end up in landfills or is not incinerated.
▲ Not export e-waste from developed to developing countries.
▲ Not use prison labor for recycling.
▲ Follow best practices for environmentally friendly recycling.
▲ Meet all applicable environmental and health regulations.
▲ Provide visible tracking of all e-waste throughout the product recycling chain and agree to third-party audits.
BAN E-STEWARD LOGO. (© BASEL ACTION NETWORK 2006)
▲ Provide bonds to cover environmental costs if their facility is closed and insurance for accidents.
▲ Support design for environment and toxics use reduction programs and/or legislation for electronic products.
One major weakness in BAN's e-Steward Initiative is that it is an honor-based system, without safeguards to prevent organizations that sign the Initiative from cheating. BAN is currently working on a certification process to help prevent cheating.
To help corporate customers pick an asset disposal firm that recycles in a responsible manner, in 2008 the market research firm IDC created a certification program called the "Green Recycling and Asset Disposal for the Enterprise," or G.R.A.D.E. The certification process is based on 34 IT asset-disposal related activities to grade OEMs and recyclers on how well they perform the functions of on-site services, logistics, processing, and treatment of waste. To earn this certification, a company must score a minimum of 75% on a multidimensional weighting of these 34 activities.
The certification is designed to measure how well the recycler can guarantee that it recycles end-of-life IT assets in an environmentally responsible manner and can also guarantee that the organization's intellectual, financial, and other assets are protected from loss or misuse. This is becoming more critical as laws and regulations hold the original owner of the asset responsible for environmental damage or customer data loss caused by inappropriate handling and disposal methods by the recycler. Companies can no longer avoid responsibility just because they turn over the IT asset to the recycler.
The first list of companies that were awarded the G.R.A.D.E. certification was released in July 2008. These companies were Dell, Hewlett Packard,
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