Anonymous GPS tracking now a regular feature of BAN's e-Stewards program

Dive Brief:

  • The e-Stewards electronic recycling certification program, founded by the Basel Action Network (BAN), will now make GPS tracking a regular feature for all participating facilities, as reported by Resource Recycling.
  • Any of the 60 e-Stewards-certified facilities — domestic or international — could now randomly receive devices of any kind of with the trackers. The trackers will now use alkaline instead of lithium ion batteries after some pushback.
  • Unlike BAN's previous GPS tracking efforts, companies which are tracked won't be named. Instead, statistics will be compiled in a general report.

Dive Insight:

This development comes after BAN tracked 205 devices for a study and called out multiple companies that it said were using unregulated facilities. Companies such as Washington-based Total Reclaim have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and have since apologized. IMS Electronics Recycling and Good Point Recycling have disputed these claims.

Regardless of the details on each claim, it's clear that more data would be useful for the larger export system overall. The U.S. Census Bureau is currently adding a "used electronics" category to the automated export system it uses for shipping data. While this wouldn't show destinations, it would at least compile better numbers on overall volume.

The New Territories in Hong Kong are often cited as a problem destination of e-waste due to the prevalence of unregulated facilities, though some have said this is too broad of a generalization. Local government officials recently conducted an initiative called "Operation Dawn" which found large amounts of chemical waste from 3,500 improperly stored LCD pieces at nine sites in the region, as reported by South China Morning Post

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer Recycling Regulation Waste Diversion
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