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Electronics fuel innovation, save lives and increase efficiency in our jobs and daily activities. But what happens when tablets, mobile phones, hard drives and monitors die? Most people think dropping them at an office supply store is enough. But sadly, many companies that specialize in e-recycling actually ship these toxic trinkets to developing countries where shards of metal litter neighborhoods, and toxic chemicals seep into the earth. The impact on those communities is heartbreaking.

The Basel Action Network (BAN), a watchdog agency located right here in Seattle, is focused on confronting the global impact around the “toxic trade” and increasing awareness on a global scale. Its influence ranges from federal agencies like the EPA, to local communities. In fact, the organization recently helped King County take a big step in sustainable operations last month, becoming the first government body in Washington State, the second in the nation, to become e-Stewards® certified – a designation awarded only to companies and organizations upholding the highest standards in sustainability.

As a member of the Weber Shandwick CleanTech team, I have the opportunity to work with clients that I truly feel good about supporting. Once of those is CloudBlue, an IT asset disposal company that is helping to lead this fight. CloudBlue partners with businesses of all sizes to safely and securely manage electronics, ensuring every scrap is dealt with responsibly (and domestically), and reused whenever possible.

In a recent Greenbiz.com interview, Mark Vander Kooy,  CloudBlue’s Executive VP Business Development and a member of the e-Stewards® Leadership Council, said:

“The challenges are still the same. How are things being recycled, and how are things being collected? We’re doing a much better job as a nation on collection events, but you can collect all the stuff you want, and if you’re not handling it correctly it’s not recycling.”

CloudBlue is one of the few companies that has received e-Stewards® Certification by the Basel Action Network (BAN), awarded only to IT asset service providers who pass an extensive independent audit process.

CloudBlue, BAN, the EPA and other organizations are doing big things to keep e-waste in good hands, keep data secure, and refurbish and reuse electronics whenever possible. It’s an issue that not enough people are talking about, but it’s on the rise and gaining traction. And I, for one, am thrilled to be involved in that progress.

(Photo complements of teacherhax)

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