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[United States]
Posted on : Nov 10, 2008

Two environmental groups in the United States, the Basel Action Network (BAN)
and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, will launch an electronic-waste
accreditation and certification program that will prohibit shipping toxic
e-waste overseas, the groups say.

The certification program, which 32 US electronics recyclers already signed on
to, will launch in early 2010, officials with the Basel Action Network (BAN)
say. The certification program will be an extension of the group's current
E-Stewards program, which lists environmentally responsible e-waste recyclers
but doesn't audit their practices.

For several years, environmental groups have complained about the U.S. and other
countries shipping their toxic e-waste to developing countries, where the
computers, televisions and other equipment can be recycled in primitive
conditions. The announcement comes a day after the CBS news program "60 Minutes"
aired a segment on e-waste recycling and the Chinese city Guiyu.

The certification program will be North America's first independently audited
and accredited e-waste recycler certification program, according to the Basel
Action Network, which is named after the Basel Convention, an international
treaty focused on reducing the shipment of hazardous waste to developing
countries. The US is one of a handful of countries that has not ratified the
treaty, in force since 1992.

There's no overarching U.S. law to prohibit dumping e-waste elsewhere, said
Sarah Westervelt, BAN's E-Stewards coordinator. BAN will push for federal
legislation in 2009, as it has in past years, she said. Recyclers wanting to be
certified under the new program will not be able to dump toxic e-waste overseas
or ship it to local landfills or incinerators. The certification will prohibit
companies from using prison labour to process e-waste and prohibit them from
releasing private data contained on discarded computers.
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