Success Stories Highlight Efforts to Reduce Toxic Pollution in Developing Countries

The Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth, Green Cross Switzerland, and Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) have published a new report, “Top Ten Countries Turning the Corner on Toxic Pollution,” as part of their annual ‘World’s Worst Polluted’ series to raise global awareness about the extent and the impacts of toxic pollution in low- and middle-income countries.

The report revisits the countries featured in a 2009 report, “12 Cases of Cleanup and Success” for inspiration and highlights the commitment and progress developing countries are making in overcoming toxic pollution. In these areas, pollution kills 8.4 million people each year, most of them children, and an estimated 200 million people suffer serious pollution-related health problems, including brain damage, from exposure to lead, mercury, pesticides and a host of other chemicals.

The cities and their stories shared within the report demonstrate that in spite of numerous obstacles and lack of resources, with collaboration and commitment, something can always be done to begin to improve even the most polluted areas. Below are summaries of three success stories featured in the report:

Agbogbloshie, Ghana

Photo credit: Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth

E-waste recycling is an important source of income for the thousands in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Their methods, including burning of electronic scrap to recover prized metals, particularly copper, had taken a dreadful toll on the health of the people and the environment. Now wire-stripping machines eliminate burning of e-waste and offer a safer, healthier way to extract the metals.

Thiaroye Sur Mer, Senegal

Photo credit: Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth

Acute lead poisoning, a rare condition caused by prolonged daily exposure to lead, took the lives of 18 young children in a matter of months. The women of the community had been breaking used lead-acid batteries and smelting the lead to extract it for resale. Lead fumes and dust contaminated the community killing children and impairing the health of others. Project partners and funders, along with the Senegalese government, not only removed lead contamination from the village, but also trained the women in hydroponic agriculture as an alternative means of income to this toxic work.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Low-income workers in Montevideo burn electronic waste and electrical cables to obtain copper for resale. By burning e-waste over open pit fires they created “toxic hotspots” in their own communities, sites where contamination from heavy metals and other toxins are so high, it is a danger to human health. The GAHP teamed up with the City of Montevideo to identify and clean up some of the worst toxic hotspots of the city.

For the full report and more information on these and other stories, visit www.worstpolluted.org

While these stories highlight some of the recent successes in cleaning up pollution in these areas, it is important to remember that there is still a long way to go in repairing the damage and preventing the root causes of this contamination. To ensure your electronics do not get exported overseas and further contaminate developing countries, partner with an e-Stewards certified recycler. e-Stewards’ recyclers adhere to the most stringent, global standards for recycling e-waste and worker protection. e-Stewards is the only certification that strictly prohibits the exportation of toxic e-waste to developing countries.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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Sell Your iPhones to e-Cycle for the Highest Pricing and to Protect Your Private Mobile Data

Are you upgrading to the Apple iPhone 5s or 5c? e-Cycle, the most trusted iPhone mobile buyback and recycling company, provides businesses a secure and profitable way to sell used iPhones while ensuring their mobile data is eradicated from the devices.

When selling used iPhones or other mobile devices, it is crucial for businesses and consumers to make certain sensitive data on their mobile phones is properly wiped. Factory resets are unreliable and can leave information behind in hidden menus, including phone numbers, e-mails, photographs, addresses, pins and other confidential information. e-Cycle employs a combination of rigorous, multi-step data sanitation procedures and quality assurance checks to ensure we provide the best data protection in the industry.

e-Cycle’s simple iPhone buyback program offers high prices, free shipping and fast payments that put money back into your pocket to greatly offset the cost of purchasing the new Apple iPhone 5s or 5c. e-Cycle purchases more than 400 types of mobile phones and tablets and is a trusted partner to the largest global businesses and government agencies in the world.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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e-Cycle Applauds Iron Mountain’s Pledge to Responsibly Manage E-Waste by Utilizing e-Stewards Electronics Recyclers

e-Cycle congratulates Iron Mountain, a storage and information management company, on their e-Stewards® Enterprise designation. The company has responded to the world’s fastest-growing pollution problem – improperly recycled or disposed of e-waste – with a pledge to use only e-Stewards certified recyclers and help their customers do the same.

e_stewards_enterprise“Leaders lead, and Iron Mountain has demonstrated that the status quo situation where electronic waste is routinely dumped in developing countries or our local landfills is just not acceptable anymore,” said Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN.

e-Stewards Enterprises are organizations that commit to utilizing e-Stewards certified recyclers, wherever possible. e-Stewards recyclers and their downstream vendors are continually audited to validate that they uphold the highest global standards for environmental protection and social responsibility.

More than 70 environmental groups worldwide have endorsed the e-Stewards Standard, including Greenpeace, the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. To learn more about the e-Stewards certification, visit www.e-Stewards.org or our e-Stewards information page.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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e-Cycle Congratulates Lockheed Martin For Becoming an e-Stewards Enterprise Recognized for Responsible e-Recycling

Lockheed Martin, a global security, aerospace and information technology supplier, was recognized as an e-Stewards Enterprise for its responsible electronic waste management.lockeed 2

e-Stewards Enterprises are companies, governments and institutions that commit to preventing the improper management of hazardous e-waste, which has detrimental impacts on the health of people and the environment.

As an e-Stewards Enterprise, Lockheed Martin is dedicated to using e-Stewards certified electronics recyclers because they uphold the highest global standards for responsible recycling and undergo annual independent audits to ensure they do not export hazardous e-waste to developing countries or dump it into landfills.

Learn more about the e-Stewards certification here or by visiting e-Stewards.org.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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The New School is the First Northeast University Acknowledged as e-Stewards Enterprise

e_stewards_enterprisee-Cycle applauds The New School of New York City for being the first educational institution in the Northeast to become an e-Stewards® Enterprise. Their pledge to manage e-waste appropriately and use recyclers that are certified to the e-Stewards standards.

The e-Stewards Enterprise designation provides recognition of organizations that dispose of their electronics properly by utilizing e-Stewards certified recyclers.

The e-Stewards Standard prohibits e-waste dumping in municipal landfills and the export of e-waste to developing countries. Both of which can cause catastrophic harm to the environment and health of local residents. It also ensures worker protection and enforces strict rules for data security. The e-Stewards Standard is the only certification to encompass and strictly enforce all these essential components.

The EPA estimates that 70 to 80 percent of electronics recyclers in the U.S. either directly or indirectly sell non-functional electronic components to companies that export toxic e-waste overseas for a profit. To achieve e-Stewards certification, electronics recyclers and their downstream vendors are rigorously audited to ensure only fully-functional devices are sold for reuse and all other devices and accessories are recycled in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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Sell and Recycle Your Cell Phones and Tablets in August for the Chance to Win Our Endless Summer Giveaway

August GiveawaySummer doesn’t have to end so soon! e-Cycle is offering our clients the chance to extend their summer fun with our Endless Summer Getaway Giveaway. Any organization that sells or recycles wireless mobile devices with e-Cycle by August 31, will be entered into our random drawing to win a $500 American Airlines gift card.

Entering the giveaway is easy:

Individuals can safely sell and recycle personal mobile devices by visiting e-Cycle’s user-friendly consumer buyback tool at www.e-Cycle.com.

* Some restrictions apply. Visit our Current Promotions page or contact e-Cycle to learn more.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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How to Recycle Your Used Computers, Mobile Phones and Other Electronics Safely and Avoid Using the Wrong Electronics Recycling Company

According to the United Nations, around 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide each year and only a small fraction of that e-waste is properly recycled. Businesses must partner with a credible electronics recycler to ensure that their mobile and other electronics devices and the sensitive data stored inside are recycled properly. Partnering with the wrong electronics recycler can be extremely hazardous for the environment and business. 

The Problem

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 70 to 80 percent of recyclers in the U.S. either directly or indirectly export their e-waste into developing countries. The Basel Action Network (BAN) reports that more than 500 containers, each containing 10 to 15 tons of e-waste, enter Nigerian ports every month, amounting to 60,000 to 90,000 tons of e-waste each year. Exporting e-waste is devastating to both the health of the environment and the people in these countries.

­Slave or child labor ankid with ewasted unethical methods such as open-acid baths and open-air burning are often used to extract the valuable metals inside t­he devices and to dispose of e-waste. Mobile phones, tablets and computers contain toxic metals and chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. These extraction methods cause substantial harm to the environment and the inhalation of the toxic fumes can cause significant health problems or even death for the locals in these e-waste farming communities.

According to a report released by the United Nations, criminal gangs behind the drug trade in West Africa are becoming involved with illegal e-waste trading. Many of the discarded electronics and mobile devices that end up in these dumping grounds have not been properly wiped of data. This leaves private information such as addresses, phone numbers and banking details to be easily harvested by criminals.

The Solution

It is imperative that businesses and individuals properly recycle their retired devices with a responsible electronics recycler. BAN, together with industry leaders, developed the e-Stewards certification program in an effort to eliminate the growing e-waste problem.

e-Stewards provides consumers, businesses and government agencies that dispose of their old electronic equipment an easy way to identify recycling companies that adhere to the highest standards of environmental responsibility, data security and worker protection. This globally recognized program is the only certification that strictly prohibits the export of toxic e-waste into developing countries and bans the use of child and prison labor. It also requires yearly audits to ensure that the high e-Stewards standards are continuously being met. Using e-Stewards certified recyclers will not only guarantee organizations protect the environment when recycling their electronics but also their sensitive company information.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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e-Cycle Update: Global E-waste is Ending up in Toxic Wastelands in China

A recent United Nations report revealed that approximately 70 percent of globally produced e-waste is being exported to China for disposal, making it the largest e-waste dumping site in the world.

Many of these products are originally manufactured in China and are finding their way back through illegal exportation from developed countries, even though the U.N. has a ban that strictly prohibits this practice.

Over the past decade Guiyu, a small town in southeastern China, has become a major hub for the disposal of e-waste. Here, hundreds of thousands of people dismantle the world’s electronic junk in dangerous, primitive ways.  The effects on the environment and the health of the local community are catastrophic.

Environmental Pollution

The U.N. report stated that the e-waste disposal industry has caused “environmental calamity” in Guiyu. Much of the toxic pollution is a direct result of burning the equipment and washing it with hydrochloric acid.

burningThe washing technique is used to obtain valuable metals from devices. For example, approximately 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered for every million cellphones recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The U.N. report showed that using the burning and washing methods releases hydrocarbon ashes into the air, water and soil, and it contaminates the environment with toxic heavy metals.

Health Hazards

chinaWhile Guiyu locals downplay the potential damage their work has on their health, studies conducted by Shantou University Medical College have shown reasons for concern. Reports revealed that many children tested in Guiyu had higher than average levels of lead in their blood, which is known to stunt the development of the brain and central nervous system.

In addition, mercury can be released into the environment during the dismantling and disposal of electronic devices like mobile phones, TVs and computer monitors. Mercury can easily accumulate within the food chain, particularly fish, causing damage to the brain and kidneys.

What can you do?

To ensure your wireless devices and other electronic equipment are being recycled responsibly, be sure to only work with an e-Stewards certified recycler. The certification is recognized globally and e-Stewards recyclers and their downstream vendors are rigorously audited to ensure they adhere to the highest standards for responsible recycling and reuse of electronic equipment. e-Stewards is the only electronics recycler certification in the world that strictly prohibits the export of toxic e-waste into developing countries, includes industry-specific worker health and safety requirements and bans the use of child, slave and prison labor.

e-Cycle is the first wireless buyback and recycling company in the world to achieve e-Stewards certification. To learn more about responsible mobile phone and tablet recycling, contact us at www.e-Cycle.com.

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Congratulations to Cyber City for becoming an e-Stewards Enterprise!

The entire e-Cycle team congratulates Cyber City Inc., a leading cloud solutions provider, for joining the e-Stewards Enterprise program. By becoming an e-Stewards business, Cyber City has made the commitment to ensure their e-waste will be managed, wherever possible, by e-Stewards Certified Recyclers.

e-Stewards recyclers adhere to the highest standards for responsible recycling and reuse of electronic equipment. e-Stewards is the only electronics recycling certification in the world that strictly prohibits the export of toxic e-waste into developing countries, includes industry-specific worker health and safety requirements and bans the use of child, slave and prison labor. The EPA estimates that 70 to 80 percent of electronics recyclers in the U.S. export toxic e-waste overseas into developing countries.

Glenn McGinnis, co-founder and CEO of Cyber City Inc., highlighted the importance of environmental stewardship in his organization.

”Our business is helping our clients get more from technology. Reducing environmental impact to a minimum is central to our mission and is a component of every service Cyber City offers,” said McGinnis.

Cyber City is the first technical support company based in New York’s “Silicon Alley” to become an e-Stewards Enterprise.

As the first mobile buyback and recycling company to become e-Stewards certified, e-Cycle applauds Cyber City for their environmental stewardship. If you are interested in selling and/or recycling your business mobile devices securely and responsibly, please visit www.e-Cycle.com.

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Five Fundamental Flaws of the 2013 R2 Standard for Electronics Recycling

The Basel Action Network (BAN) recently released a critique entitled “Five Fundamental Flaws: A Concise Critique of the R2:2013 Standard.” It speaks to the loopholes caused by the ambiguity of the certification, but does mention that the overall implementation of the R2 certification has improved.

FiveFundamentalFlawFinal_Page_1

“We remain disappointed and very concerned with the substance of the Standard itself, which has change little from the initial version (R2:2008) published five years ago,” BAN stated.

The fundamental flaws of the certification stem from what appear to be intentional loopholes that facilitate social and environmental irresponsibility in the electronic recycling and asset recovery industry. The critique outlined the following flaws:

  1. R2 does not adhere to international hazardous waste trade laws that apply to the exportation of used electronics. These laws, established under the Basel Convention, have been adopted by 180 countries and are the legal waste trading framework practiced worldwide. Basically, the R2 certification has no provisions that prohibit the export of harmful toxic waste. This creates problems for developing countries where e-waste is being imported because they do not have the appropriate infrastructure in place to prevent harm to the environment and to the health of their communities. Enterprises that recycle their mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices may be at risk of having their electronics discovered in overseas “toxic wastelands.”
  2. R2 allows recyclers to be certified without certifying all of the facilities operating under the company’s control. This presents serious issues because irresponsible, unethical recyclers can externalize costs by sending toxic materials that require expensive management to developing countries. These organizations do not have to adhere to any regulations regarding the disposal of e-waste, while the parent company can still claim R2 certification.
  3. R2 allows insufficient Environmental, Health, & Safety Management System (EHSM) to be substituted for the internationally accepted ISO and OSHAS standards. To remedy issues with earlier versions of the R2 standard, the requirement for an EHSM System was added to R2:2013. This is problematic because it falsely implicates that an EHSM system is equivalent to the comprehensive and internationally accepted ISO standards. R2:2013 also fails to define any measurement to qualify an EHSM system as being acceptable.
  4. R2 does not require ethical labor practices. Unfortunately, child, slave and prison labor are still common practices in the recycling supply chain worldwide. The R2:2013 Standard fails the test of being socially responsible by excluding any reference to minimum labor standards. The terms “labor” and “social accountability” do not even appear in the Standard. E-waste contains hazardous materials and sensitive data, so a truly responsible certification must strictly exclude such dangerous and unethical practices.
  5. R2 does not require satisfactory occupational health and safety protections. The Standard fails to require mandatory air testing and does not prevent the shredding of devices containing hazardous materials like beryllium, cadmium or mercury. These practices can cause irreparable harm to the health of workers in the e-waste industry.

R2:2013 Standard’s ambiguity and refusal to acknowledge the guidelines of the Basel Convention creates loopholes for irresponsible recycling. It provides unwarranted credit to electronics recyclers who deceive consumers and businesses by allowing them to believe their devices are being recycled in a secure and responsible manner.

It is imperative that businesses and individuals properly recycle their retired devices with a responsible electronics recycler. BAN, together with industry leaders, developed the globally recognized e-Stewards certification program in an effort to eliminate the growing e-waste problem.

e-Stewards is the only electronics recycler certification that strictly prohibits the export of toxic e-waste into developing countries, includes industry-specific worker health and safety requirements and bans the use of child, slave and prison labor. Using e-Stewards certified recyclers guarantees the highest standards of environmental responsibility, data security and worker protection are being met.

To download BAN’s full report, visit http: www.e-cycle.com/wp-content/uploads/FiveFundamentalFlawFinal.pdf.

To learn more about responsible mobile phone and tablet recycling, visit www.e-Cycle.com.

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