The e-Stewards Story

e-Stewards International is a global team of individuals, institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies upholding a safe, ethical, and globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling and refurbishment. We stop the export of illegal hazardous e-waste to developing nations and create a safe, green, and just world through sharing and using the principled and practical standard for electronics recycling and reuse.

 The e-Stewards Standard is the product of hundreds of person-hours, by multiple industry leaders in recycling, asset disposition, certifications, health, safety and the environment. 


In 2003, the Basel Action Network, a nonprofit dedicated to turning back the tide of toxins and waste to developing nations, launched the e-Stewards Pledge program. Over forty qualified electronics recyclers with one hundred locations across the US and Canada pledged to use only globally responsible, safe means to process electronic waste, aka, e-waste. BAN’s Pledge was the only program in North America to make real progress in establishing and ensuring e-waste recycling best practices for toxic materials, which included:

  • no disposal in landfills or incinerators
  • no prison labor
  • no export of toxics to poor communities

In 2006, BAN set aside efforts to transition the Pledge program into an independently audited certification program to focus on bigger, more holistic solutions. BAN wanted to create a voluntary e-waste recycling standard and partnered with the U.S. EPA-funded “Responsible Recycling” (R2) multi-stakeholder process.

After contributing significantly to this process for two and a half years, the environmental community abandoned R2. They could not in good conscience agree with the group and vote to field test a draft of the standard that would violate laws in importing countries, as well as allow toxic substances in solid waste disposal facilities.

Soon after R2 was tested, thirteen recyclers, the e-Stewards Founders, approached BAN offering to fund a new standard. They wanted a standard that would differentiate them and ban any export of toxic e-waste to developing nations. BAN took up the challenge.

BAN hired certification experts and brought in leaders from recycling, asset management, health and safety sectors to create the e-Stewards Standard—the cleanest, most globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling.