Electronics certification recycling program e-Stewards, managed by the Basel Action Network (BAN), has begun regularly using GPS-based tracking devices placed into used electronic equipment to verify the performance of certified e-Stewards recyclers.
The e-waste recycling program says this makes is the only electronics recycling certification in the world to use GPS tracking to verify performance.
The announcement follows BAN’s recent reports, which secretly used GPS trackers to monitor e-waste. In one report, BAN accused Dell and Goodwill of exporting electronics overseas instead of recycling them in the US. At the time, a Dell spokesperson told Environmental Leader, “The export of e-waste is a violation of our Electronic Disposition Policy so we take these allegations seriously. We are currently investigating the report claims, and we will address any validated issues in our processes.”
A subsequent BAN report following GPS-embedded devices said 40 percent of the monitors and printers it delivered to US electronics recyclers were exported mostly to developing countries, likely resulting in illegal trade, instead of being recycled in the US. As Waste Dive reports, companies including 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 BAN’s claims from the report.
While these two reports named names, BAN executive director Jim Puckett told Resource Recycling that the new GPS tracking effort won’t identify which companies are tracked. Instead BAN will publish a report that will say how many trackers were deployed and identify the results.
The organization will also start using trackers powered by alkaline batteries instead of by lithium-ion batteries, after receiving criticism for using the latter.