The predecessor of the accredited certification program was the Electronic Recyclers’ Pledge of True Stewardship, also called the e-Stewards Pledge program, which was established in March 2003. In order to encourage e-recyclers to commit to responsible recycling, they were asked to commit to BAN’s basic tenets responsible recycling by signing the Pledge. As the program evolved, BAN incorporated a ‘desk and documentation audit’ by tracking the toxic materials to final disposition. Pledged e-Stewards recyclers met the core requirements of keeping toxic e-waste out of developing countries, prisons, landfills and incinerators.
The Pledge program ceased accepting new recyclers on October 15th, 2009 in order to transition to the fully accredited Certified e-Stewards Recyclers program, which was launched on April 15th, 2009. At that time, Pledged e-Stewards Recyclers were given until August 31, 2011 to remain in the e-Stewards program while they worked to set up an ISO 14001 environmental management system and e-waste management systems that conformed with the new e-Stewards Standard for the Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Waste®. They also had to contract and schedule on-site audits with an accredited e-Stewards Certification Body. Multi-site companies would be allowed an 18-month period after the completion of the certification of their first site/facility in order to the complete certification of all remaining company sites.
While the qualified Pledged e-Stewards Recyclers were given time to transition to certification, the e-Stewards website listed Qualified Pledged e-Stewards Recyclers, Certified e-Stewards Recyclers and recyclers with Certification in Progress. As scheduled, on August 31st, 2011, any Pledged e-Stewards that had not contracted for certification were removed from the site. Those recyclers were also required to cease using the e-Stewards logo to promote their business.
It is important to note that any Pledged e-Stewards located in developing countries (non-OECD) did not have the option to certify to the e-Stewards Standard since certification is not yet available in those countries. BAN’s efforts to expand the e-Stewards program globally will specifically include pilots in non-OECD countries, eventually providing former Pledged e-Stewards Recyclers in these countries, and others, the opportunity to become Certified to the e- Stewards Standard.