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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT: City reviewing contract with local recycling company

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
5/9/2016  9:38:00 AM
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City reviewing contract with local recycling company
Sodo recycler’s e-Stewards certification was withdrawn after company violated standards

SEATTLE — The City of Seattle said today it is reviewing the terms of its electronic waste recycling contract with Total Reclaim, following news that the Sodo-based company’s certification as an environmentally responsible electronics processor had been withdrawn.

In a statement Thursday (May 5), the non-profit Basel Action Network (BAN), which operates the e-Stewards certification program, said Total Reclaim had been “identified by [an] electronic tracking program to have exported mercury containing LCD monitors to Hong Kong.”

BAN added that Total Reclaim has admitted and apologized for the violation of e-Steward standards.

In 2012, as part of an effort to end shipping of dangerous electronic waste to developing countries, Seattle adopted BAN’s tough e-Stewards recycling standards—considered the most rigorous in the world. Total Reclaim, an approved e-Stewards processor, was awarded the contract for processing household electronics collected curbside and for used electronics from City operations.

Seattle charges an extra fee for curbside recycling of electronics, and only 83 units were collected in Seattle in 2015. Electronics are not accepted for recycling at the City’s transfer stations.

Calling Total Reclaim’s actions “a complete violation of public trust,” Seattle’s Director of Solid Waste Ken Snipes said the city was reviewing the terms of its e-waste recycling contract with the company while at the same time working to find another approved e-Stewards recycler to take on the work.

“I applaud BAN’s efforts to uphold the integrity of its certification process, and ensure that recycled electronic products are really going where they’re supposed to,” Snipes said. “The people of Seattle are among the most responsible recyclers in the world, and we think there is no excuse for exporting hazardous e-waste in violation of other nations’ laws.”

Snipes said customers who want to place electronic devices at the curb (and pay the additional fee) can continue to do so.

Residents who use other programs, such as E-Cycle Washington, should continue to do so. 
The Seattle-based Basel Action Network advances global environmental health and justice by working against toxic trade, the all-too-common practice of exporting risk and harm to developing countries; promoting a toxics-free future through green design and responsible consumption; and campaigning for global environmental justice, everyone’s right to a pollution-free environment.

Watch Basel Action Network’s video, e-Stewardship: Taking Responsibility in the Information Age.

For information on where to dispose of household hazardous waste, including station locations and hours, contact www.HazWasteHelp.org or (206) 296-4692.

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities, at: www.seattle.gov/util.

Watch a short video about SPU.

Seattle Public Utilities provides essential services. We deliver pure mountain drinking water, recycling and composting that lead the nation, and sewer and drainage systems to protect our local waterways. These services safeguard your health and our shared environment, and help keep Seattle the best place to live.

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