King County executive aims to overhaul electronics recycling

March 4, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. March 4, 2011

King County could break ground by requiring responsible electronics recycling for county departments.

County Executive Dow Constantine proposed legislation last week to ensure all county agencies recycle computer monitors, mobile phones, TVs and other discarded electronics through environmentally sound practices.

The county could become the first in the state — and the second in the United States — to enact such a measure.

“King County agencies recycled more than 90,000 pounds of electronic equipment in 2010 and they did it the right way — under contract with an excellent local e-Steward recycler Total Reclaim,” Constantine said in a release. “This ordinance will ensure that our agencies always use an approved recycler and pursue the most responsible recycling practices for their electronic waste.”

The proposed legislation also aims to update surplus auction practices by requiring all electronic equipment to be functioning and in working order.

The ordinance seeks to codify electronics recycling practices and qualify the county to earn the e-Steward Enterprise designation from the Basel Action Network’s standard for responsible electronics recycling and reuse.

Santa Clara County, Calif., in Silicon Valley is the only other local government to achieve the certification.

The certification calls for King County to agree to make the best effort to work with e-Steward recyclers. The recyclers undergo a professional audit every year to guarantee the companies do not export hazardous recycling byproducts to developing countries, use prison labor in the United States or dump in municipal landfills.

“At this pivotal moment in the worldwide e-waste crisis, King County joins a growing number of business, academic and governmental leaders taking action to stem a toxic tide,” Basel Action Network Executive Director Jim Puckett said.

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