The Seattle-based Basel Action Network (BAN) has announced that Durham, N.C.-based Waste To Green LLC has become a certified e-Stewards recycler. Waste To Green is the first minority and woman-owned company on the East Coast to achieve the e-Stewards certification, BAN says.
Waste To Green founders Amritpal Chatha and Harpreet Cheema say they experienced firsthand the need for truly accountable electronic recyclers. While working for a major electronics manufacturer, Chatha, who holds a master's degree in information security management, recognized the gap between new electronics entering the market and those being recycled.
"New, improved electronics are entering the market year after year, yet there is very little accountability for those becoming obsolete," Chatha says.
Waste To Green President Harpreet Cheema likewise witnessed the problem while studying pollution in Indian slums. "There were piles of electronics stacked up everywhere," Cheema says. "These slums were like mini electronic graveyards with young kids stripping copper wires from DVD players and broken leaded glass all over. I began to understand that those electronics made their way from the Western world under the guise of reuse and recycling. I was certain that their original owners had no idea that this was the result of their best intentions to recycle."
The e-Stewards Standard prohibits the export of hazardous e-scrap and untested or nonworking electronics to developing countries. Companies applying for e-Stewards certification also must be certified to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard.
"The process of becoming a certified e-Stewards recycler provided powerful checkpoints around all essential electronic recycling business issues," Cheema says. "In addition to qualifying that we're sending all of our material to responsible final recovery operations, it also delved deeply into environmental, health, safety, data security and other essential business aspects. We wanted to achieve the gold standard of electronics recycling industry, which is why we are proud to be a Certified e-Stewards Recycler."