Front Office > Electronic Waste

When batteries, thermostats, computers, and other potentially hazardous electronic wastes are improperly disposed, they can pose significant risks to public health and the environment.

Choose an e-Steward electronic waste recycler to ensure that your electronic waste is being properly recycled. By choosing an e-Stewards® Recycler, individuals and businesses are choosing the most trustworthy recyclers, ones that have been independently verified to handle e-waste in the most globally responsible way — using safe technologies and careful protections for workers.

Check with the e-Stewards Recyclers in your area about recycling your e-waste. For a list of e-Stewards Recyclers and more about e-Stewards Certification, see www.e-stewards.org.

e-Stewards Certification is the only marketplace solution supported by the environmental community and the most responsible electronics recycling companies. It was created to be both principled and practical, and it joins other best-practice certification programs such those by the Marine Stewardship Council and Forest Stewardship Council, as the most protective standard and the most rigorous program for verifying recyclers are doing things right.

Giving away or selling used electronics are great ways to extend their use and keep them out of landfills. Some services provide second-hand computers to schools or nonprofits, so your functional old computer could become a valuable tool for someone in need. Please assure that an e-Stewards certified recycler is used by whomever you donate your used electronics to.

No matter where you take your e-waste—to collection events, recyclers, or take-back programs—you should be sure that 100% of the electronic equipment will go only to e-Stewards Recyclers. It’s the best way to protect the global ecosystem and human health when it comes to electronics recycling.

Environmental Benefits

Batteries and electronic waste (e-waste) constitute one of the most polluting portions of an office waste stream. Batteries and e-waste – such as computer monitors, printers, and cell phones – contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. When thrown into the trash, they end up in landfills or incinerators, and these toxic heavy metals can be emitted as air pollutants or drain into soils and waters, polluting lakes and streams and making them unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing, and wildlife. The key to responsible e-waste recycling is knowing where your stuff will end up. Watch out for any recycler who ships discarded electronics to developing countries for processing. Avoiding sending our garbage overseas saves on greenhouse gas emissions and helps protect workers and the environment in developing countries. According to the Basel Action Network, upwards of 80 percent of the world’s e-waste is transported to Asia, and most of it winds up in China. Workers who disassemble consumer electronics by hand are exposed to toxic substances, which also contaminate groundwater.

Additional Resources

e-Stewards
E-waste: Saving Developing Communities from our Electronic Junk
Basel Action Network
EPA – Hazardous Waste
OSHA – Hazardous Waste