Home > Arcata, environment > Ethical e-waste recycling in Arcata

Ethical e-waste recycling in Arcata

[Press Release by the Arcata Community Recycling Center.]

The proliferation of obsolete electronic equipment and gadgets has become the largest toxic waste problem of our time.

E-waste contains very toxic substances such as the heavy metals mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and beryllium; as well as brominated flame retardants and more. Up to 50-million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide each year according to the United Nations Environment Program. This is enough to fill a line of garbage collection trucks stretching halfway around the world, and this line is expanding by eight percent per year.

When our televisions, computers, cell phones, and wide assortment of personal electronic gizmos rapidly become outdated and are replaced it is time to think about what will happen to these items in the next phase of their lives.

California law restricts disposal of e-waste in landfills and requires that these materials be recycled. But how do you know a television you recycle in Humboldt County is not being transported to a landfill in Arkansas or a burn pile stoked by children in China?

To answer this question the Basel Action Network (BAN) has developed a standard for the ethical recycling of e-waste: The e-Stewards Certification (www.e-stewards.org ). BAN has designed and developed a system by which recyclers, refurbishers, and processors may obtain independent third-party certification of their conformance with the e-Stewards Standard and therefore combat unscrupulous e-waste handlers who may be undercutting the market. The e-Stewards Certification is the only electronics recycler certification that has the backing of the global environmental community. In the US that backing includes an endorsement from Greenpeace USA, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club.

The Arcata Community Recycling Center (ACRC) is the only e-waste recycler within 200 miles of Humboldt County qualified by BAN under the Electronic Recyclers Pledge of True Stewardship Program. Pledged e-Stewards recyclers track the path of toxic e-waste materials and keep it out of developing countries, prisons, landfills and incinerators. E-waste is accepted at ACRC’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) at 10th & N St. 10:00am-3:30pm Monday through Saturday. For a list of accepted materials and applicable fees visit http://www.arcatarecycling.org or call 445-4321.

  1. Spongy Morel
    May 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    The irony of this has not escaped me. I’m reading about this escalating e-waste problem on one of four computers that I own.

  2. titan
    May 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Let’s put a proposal on the ballot to turn the Marina Center into a recycle facility for e-waste…..and make Arkley pay for it.

  3. the reasonable anonymous
    May 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Good work ACRC!

  4. Anonymous
    August 24, 2010 at 12:12 am

    has anyone asked them why they never anounce their free ewaste events?

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