Santa Clara County just passed an ordinance which would require e-waste collectors to be e-Steward certified in order to be eligible for collecting and processing the waste. This ordinance, effective January 1, 2012, would ensure that e-waste is recycled in a safe and ethical practice.
While California's Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 is one of the most successful e-waste recycling law in the nation, there are no recycling requirements or export restrictions on the thousands of tons of consumer electronics that are not covered by the law.
This ordinance, by requiring the use of e-stewards recycler standard, explicitly forbid the exportation of all e-waste to developing nations. According to the proposal, "All e-Stewards recyclers are committed to using best practices for the disposal of e-waste in an environmentally sound manner - no disposal in landfills or incinerators; environmentally safe working conditions; no prison labor; and no export to developing nations where e-waste is either dumped in landfills, incinerated, or dismantled and handled by the young, the elderly, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged."
CAW supports this measure for the same reasons as we support AB 960 (Lowenthal), which also requires e-waste recyclers to conform their exporting practices in order to receive payments. AB 960 has currently passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and is now heading to the Fiscal Committee.
To read more about the detrimental effects of improper e-waste disposal, click here.
To read Santa Clara County’s ordinance in full, click here.