Introduction to Certification

What is the e-Stewards Certification Program?

The e-Stewards® Standard and accredited third party certification program were initiated at the request of leaders in the recycling and refurbishment industries, in order to better distinguish their businesses in a marketplace where some practices result in profound negative impacts on the global environment and human health, and fail to meet customers’ needs for responsible recycling.

The e-Stewards program provides businesses with a best practices framework to effectively manage the different types of risks it faces, whether they are environmental, health and safety, legal, operational, or customer related. Once established, this system provides a living tool for continually improving business performance.

It also provides customers with a high level of confidence that when using certified e-Stewards recyclers the following holds true within the entire recycling chain:

  • Data is secure through rigorous requirements for chain of custody and data destruction
  • No use of prison labor, child labor or sweatshops
  • No use of incinerators
  • No hazardous e-waste will end up in landfills
  • e-Stewards recyclers operate a management system to achieve legal compliance with all laws, including the Basel Convention
  • No hazardous e-waste is shipped to developing countries

e-Stewards Certification is rapidly emerging as the leading global program designed to enable individuals and organizations, who dispose of their old electronic equipment, to easily identify recyclers that adhere to the highest standard of environmental responsibility and worker protection. e-Stewards Certification is open to electronics recyclers, refurbishers and processors.

Certified e-Stewards recyclers adhere to the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment®; written by the environmental community with leaders in the industry to protect human health and the global environment. While there are other guidelines written for the recycling industry, the e-Stewards Standard is the only e-waste standard that:

  • Encompasses the globally recognized certification ISO 14001 environmental management system
  • Prohibits all toxic waste from being disposed of in solid waste landfills and incinerators
  • Requires full compliance with existing international hazardous waste laws and treaties for exports and imports of electronics, and specifically prohibits the export of hazardous waste to developing countries
  • Prohibits use of prison labor in the recycling of toxic electronics, which often have sensitive data embedded
  • Requires extensive baseline protections for and monitoring of recycling workers in every country, including developed nations where toxic exposures are routinely taking place
  • Is written for international use

For more details see:

The e-Stewards Certification Program provides a high level of confidence that a recycler consistently conforms to the e-Stewards Standard. Accredited, independent and specially trained, e-Stewards certification bodies must certify recyclers. The rigorous on-site audits are performed at least once a year.

e-Stewards certification bodies are fully accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

A high standard of consistent auditor performance is assured across the program through a rigorous, professional auditor training program covering the certification program and requirements, international law and a recycling industry primer.

In addition, BAN provides constant oversight of all levels of the program (recyclers, auditor training, certification and accreditation bodies) to ensure on-going integrity of the certifications.

Critical Non-Conformity Policy describes one example of oversight BAN provides. Click here for more details.

Here is an overview of how the certification process works.

Additional Reasons to Choose the e-Stewards Program

Here are a few reasons that e-Stewards Certification is the industry’s highest assurance that e-waste is disposed of the right way:

  • Top-to-bottom designed to solve the e-waste problem:
    • e-Stewards Certification provides an end-to-end accountability trail that proves e-waste recycling is performed in a manner consistent with the core objectives of data security, health and worker safety, no export of toxic materials to developing countries, no prison labor and no dumping or incineration.
  • Independent of industry interest groups:
    • The e-Stewards Initiative is managed by an independent organization committed to solving the e-waste crisis. While the engagement and support of leading recycling companies and industry experts helps ensure that the Standard remains practical and economically viable, the ultimate litmus test for every aspect of the Standard is the environmental and health goals that drive the need to have a standard in the first place.
  • Rigorous verification system:
    • Both the certification and accreditation programs were built with strong controls and oversight in order to create the highest level of confidence that a service provider consistently meets the e-Stewards Standard.

As our comparisons of e-Stewards and competitive certification programs show, other standards simply do not adequately address the foundational issues of export, and environmental, worker, and data protection. Only e-Stewards Recyclers meet the highest standard and can prove it!