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Warning Issued Against Illegal Electronics 

Plastics Scrap Shipments 

e-Stewards Releases Guide to Export Compliance

for US Electronics Recyclers

November 1, 2023. Seattle, WA. The e-Stewards© Certification Program has published a Guide to Plastic Waste Export Compliance for US Electronics Recyclers to help educate the industry on legal pathways for managing plastic waste from electronics within the legal bounds of the Basel Convention. The report follows the discovery by the Basel Action Network (BAN), the administrator of the e-Stewards Certification, that significant amounts of mixed US e-waste plastics are currently being exported to Malaysia, which cannot legally accept such plastic wastes.

“The current spate of illegal exports of plastic waste puts many recyclers and their trading partners in legal jeopardy and violates the Certifications they may hold,” says Jim Puckett, Executive Director of Basel Action Network. “Such exports also jeopardize the state-legislated producer responsibility programs operating in 23 states by electronics manufacturers. Non-compliance is not an option for anyone, so it is imperative that the matter be addressed together by all industry stakeholders including manufacturers, recyclers, certifications, and state programs."

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A critical instrument for global environmental justice, the Basel Convention is a global treaty that aims to minimize the transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes, including plastics, and strictly regulate those that are moved across borders. In 2021, new listings of plastic waste subject to trade went into force. But, as the United States has not ratified the Basel Convention and is thus a non-Party, US electronics recyclers have a limited number of legal options for their mixed or contaminated plastic wastes if they look outside their borders. Within the United States, domestic recycling capacity is currently inadequate to handle the computer and appliance plastics generated by recyclers.

e-Stewards has already begun a dialogue with the Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS), the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), and electronics manufacturers. e-Stewards aims to be part of a united front to tackle the shortfall in available options for recyclers, while ensuring compliance with international law and conformity with voluntary certification programs. Certification programs such as e-Stewards and R2 require compliance with all applicable laws. The publication of the Guide to Plastic Waste Export Compliance for US Electronics Recyclers is the first step in solving the critical shortfall in legal pathways for e-waste plastics recycling.

For more information:

Selena Turnock, Certification Director, e-Stewards

e-mail: [email protected]

phone: (206) 436-8595

Jim Puckett, Executive Director, Basel Action Network

e-mail: [email protected]

phone: (206) 652-5555

About e-Stewards:

The e-Stewards® Initiative is a market-based solution to help individuals and organizations identify and promote electronics recyclers who ensure that used electronics are managed with the highest environmental and social responsibility standards. e-Stewards Certified Recyclers and Refurbishers are audited and certified to ensure the highest levels of responsibility. e-Stewards Enterprises are major corporations, municipalities, nonprofits, or institutions that agree to make their best efforts to use e-Stewards Certified Recyclers. e-Stewards is a program established by the environmental advocacy organization Basel Action Network. See e-Stewards Video.