Frequently Asked Questions

Enterprise Questions  

Recycler Questions  

Consumer Questions  

Enterprise Answers

What is e-waste?

E-waste is short for electronic waste and is any asset no longer in use that uses or conducts electricity. The term typically refers to technology with complex and hazardous components such as smart phones, servers, laptops, tablets, etc. Read more about what e-waste is here.

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What is the e-Stewards Initiative?

The e-Stewards Initiative is a program started by the Basel Action Network, BAN, in 2003 in response to a need for stricter, cleaner standards governing e-waste recycling. The e-Stewards Initiative states that no hazardous, illegal e-waste will be exported to developing nations, be disposed into landfills or recycled using forced or child labor. Learn more about the e-Stewards Initiative here.

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What is e-Stewards Certification?

An accredited, third-party audited certification program for electronics recyclers, refurbishers and asset managers, which identifies the most globally responsible recyclers and attracts customers.

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What is the e-Stewards Standard?

The e-Stewards Standard is the highest standard for globally responsible electronics recycling and reuse. It prohibits the export of hazardous electronic waste from developed to developing countries while allowing viable technology to be reused. It includes the ISO 14001 standard, so it is a “one-stop shop” for responsible used electronics management. Certified e-Stewards recyclers are independently audited to assure conformity to the e-Stewards Standard, including downstream accountability for toxic materials to final disposition. Read more here.

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What is BAN?

BAN stands for Basel Action Network and is a nonprofit organization started in 1997 to stop the export of toxins to developing nations. Learn more about BAN here.

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Why should I use an e-Stewards certified recycler for my asset disposition?

e-Stewards certified recyclers are audited and certified to the highest global standard. The e-Stewards Standard prevents the illegal exportation of hazardous e-waste to developing nations and requires safety protocols for workers in recycling and refurbishing facilities. Read more on why e-Stewards recyclers are the right choice for your asset disposition, bottom line, and brand.

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If I fill out the Become an Enterprise form, what am I legally obliged to?

The Become an Enterprise form lets us know you’re interested in joining our Enterprise Program. From there, we’ll reach out to you and start a dialog to answer any question or concerns you may have. It’s not a binding agreement.

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Do I need to be an e-Stewards Enterprise to use a certified e-Stewards recycler?

Being an e-Stewards Enterprise means you’re committed to our cause of stopping the illegal exportation of hazardous and illegal e-waste, and your organization will do its best to only use certified e-Stewards recyclers. However, any organization can use an e-Stewards certified recycler for their asset disposition.

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How do I find e-Stewards certified recyclers in my area that take my type of assets?

You can find e-Stewards certified recyclers and a list of their services on our website using our Find a Recycler Map and our Certified Recycler list.

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After I become an e-Stewards Enterprise, how can I display the e-Stewards logo on my site and am I obligated to?

After the licensing agreement has been signed, we’ll email you a welcome package, complete with a copy of our logo and terms for its use. Displaying the e-Stewards logo on your site shows your commitment to environmental and social justice and lets your clients know you’ve chosen to make the best choice for your asset disposition. It’s your choice whether or not you display the e-Stewards logo, however.

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How much does it cost to use an e-Stewards recycler?

Using an e-Stewards certified recycler means your assets and the data they contain are secure, the assets are either refurbished and reused, or recycled safely, ethically and responsibly. Cost is dependent on many factors, including local laws, the type of assets being disposed and the company disposing them. e-Stewards certified recyclers would be happy to answer question you may have on the cost of your asset disposition and can be found on our website with their contact information here.

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Recycler Answers

What is e-Stewards Certification?

e-Stewards certification is an accredited, third-party audited, certification program for electronics recyclers, refurbishers and asset managers, which identifies the most globally responsible recyclers and attracts customers who care about data security, brand protection, human rights and environmental justice. Read more about the benefits of e-Stewards certification here.

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What is the e-Stewards Standard?

e-Stewards certification is the highest standard for globally responsible electronics recycling and reuse. It prohibits the export of hazardous electronic waste from developed to developing countries while allowing viable technology to be reused. It includes the ISO 14001 standard, so it is a “one-stop shop” for responsible used electronics management. Certified e-Stewards recyclers are audited by accredited certification bodies to assure conformity to the e-Stewards Standard, including downstream accountability for all materials to final disposition.

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What is the e-Stewards Initiative?

The e-Stewards Initiative is a program started by the Basel Action Network, aka, BAN, in 2010 in response to a need for stricter, cleaner standards governing e-waste recycling. The e-Stewards Initiative states in part that no hazardous, illegal e-waste will be exported to developing nations, be disposed into solid waste landfills or recycled using forced or child labor. Learn more about the e-Stewards Initiative here.

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Does the e-Stewards Standard ban all exports of e-waste?

No, nor should it. The standard requires recyclers and refurbishers to operate consistent with the Basel Convention (a United Nations hazardous waste treaty ratified by more than 170 countries.) The e-Stewards Standard does not restrict export of non-toxic steel, aluminum, plastics or used equipment that is tested and fully functional, as long as it is compliant with laws of the importing country. It also allows export of hazardous electronics recyclables between developed countries if legal under existing multi-lateral agreements.

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What are the advantages of becoming e-Stewards Certified?

Becoming e-Stewards Certified is a powerful long-term investment in your business, helping you establish and retain a competitive edge. Once certified, you are instantly branded as an industry leader. You will be able to differentiate yourself dramatically from your competition, bid on and win business from customers that demand responsible recyclers, and benefit from marketing support of the e-Stewards network. Learn more about the benefits of e-Stewards certification here.

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Do all locations need to be certified?

All companies within a country under the same ownership and management, and that process (recycle or refurbish) electronics, must be certified within eighteen months of the first location obtaining certification. If a company acquires additional locations, the entity shall inform the certifying body and the e-Stewards administrator about the new company, and it must be certified within 18 months of ownership.

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How much does it cost to be Certified?

There are four costs to consider when getting certified:

  1. Cost of the Standard
  2. Internal costs
  3. One-time initiation fee
  4. Third-party certification costs

Learn more here.

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How long will Certification take?

The time varies depending on several factors. For example, if a company is already certified to ISO 14001, the Environmental Management System will already be in place, saving time and money. Companies need to prepare for the Stage 1 audit, which means having all required documentation available for the audit for at least three months, with six to twelve months preferred. It also depends on how many employees need training, as well as the level of internal employee expertise regarding certifications. Some companies hire a consultant trained to the e-Stewards Standard to assist in preparation of audits, which can save time and money.

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How do I get my facility listed on the e-Stewards website?

To be listed on the e-Stewards website as “in-process” for certification a company must complete the following steps :

  1. Be contracted with an e-Stewards accredited certifying body (found on the website);
  2. Complete the Stage 1 audit at the location listed as “in-process” for certification;
  3. Fill out documentation
  4. Pay a one-time initiation fee
  5. To remain listed on the website, the Stage 2 Audit shall be completed within 6 months of being added to the website.

Please see the Website Rules for Recyclers for full details here.

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Who do I talk to about any Certification questions?

The e-Stewards program administrators are happy to answer any questions you may have about certification. You can start by submitting your questions to: <a href=info@e-Stewards.org”>info@e-Stewards.org.</a> Or, you can call our Seattle office during business hours at 206-436-8595 for assistance.

 

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How long is my facility certified for?

The contracts with the certifying bodies are for three years. After the initial audits are successfully completed, the next two years require surveillance audits. Then, every third year a new contract is signed and another full audit is required. The Annual License Agreement signed with the e-Stewards administrator continues annually as long as all requirements are met and the recycler remains in good standing in the program.

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Can e-Stewards facilities recycle materials other than electronics?

Yes, as long as the recycling process follows the e-Stewards Standard, and all procedures fall within the scope of international trans-boundary trade laws.

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Who are current certified e-Stewards recyclers?

You can review our list of current e-Stewards recyclers, and recyclers in-process, here.

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Do all facility locations need to be certified?

All locations within a country, that process electronics need to be certified within eighteen months of the initial certified location.

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Who are current e-Stewards Enterprises?

Our current e-Stewards Enterprises include over seventy brands such as Boeing, Wells-Fargo, the Seattle Mariners Aflac and Staples. See a complete list of our Enterprises here.

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Where is e-Stewards Certification available?

e-Stewards certification is currently available in almost every country in the world, with a few exceptions for those countries where accredited e-Stewards certification bodies are not allowed to do business. Learn more here.

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How do I get started?

Get started by filling out our on-line application now. Click here to get started!

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Where can I find definitions for terminology used on the site?

Definitions can be found in our site glossary here.

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Consumer Answers

What is the e-Stewards Initiative?

The e-Stewards Initiative is a program started by the Basel Action Network, aka, BAN, in 2006 in response to a need for stricter, cleaner standards governing e-waste recycling. The e-Stewards Initiative states in part that no hazardous, illegal e-waste will be exported to developing nations, be disposed into landfills or recycled using forced or child labor. Learn more about the e-Stewards Initiative here.

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What is BAN?

BAN stands for Basel Action Network and is a nonprofit organization started in 1997 to stop the exportation of toxins to developing nations. Learn more about BAN here.

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What makes my electronics more dangerous than other types of trash?

Electronics are made up of many different types of materials, some of which are toxic and known carcinogens. When they’re cracked or improperly disposed, these toxins can leach into the environment where they can harm the ecosystem, communities and animals. Learn more here.

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Where do my electronics go if I throw them in the trashcan?

Electronics thrown away in the trash are either sent to landfills or to incinerators. Neither option is a safe way to handle these dangerous toxin-filled devices. Learn more here.

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Why can’t I recycle my electronics with household recycling?

Curbside household recycling does not include e-waste. Your electronics will not be recycled and in some cities, counties or states it is illegal to place e-waste on the curb.

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How does e-waste affect the environment?

E-waste is filled with toxins that can potentially leach into the environment and poison ecosystems, stunt growth, kill animals and eventually make their way back to humans. Improperly disposed and recycled e-waste can harm the environment and people. Learn more here.

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How can I find a certified e-Stewards recycler in my area?

Use our Find a Recycler map to find a recycler close to you. Find a certified e-Stewards recycler now.

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What can I do if I can’t find a certified e-Stewards recycler in my area?

You can drop off your electronics at most Staples store locations. Use our Find a Recycler map to find a store near you. Find a location now.

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Who’s to blame for the e-waste problem?

Loose recycling and export laws are part of the e-waste problem, as are corporations who do not participate in corporate take-back programs for their electronics, as well as consumers who fail to properly recycle electronics at end-of-life. Tell Washington to enact and enforce federal laws for e-waste and e-waste recycling.

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How can I help?

There are many ways you can help:

  • Use a certified e-Stewards recycler to recycle your old electronics. Find a recycler now. >
  • Patronize brands that support sustainable electronic use and/or are an e-Stewards Enterprise. See which companies, organizations or government agencies are e-Stewards Enterprises.
  • Pledge to become an e-Stewards Envoy. Pledge now! 
  • Spread the word on social media.
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