The surging demand for new technology has also caused a surge in the quantity of electronics that are discarded every year. Up to 50 million tons of e-waste—including mobile phones, computer monitors and televisions—is generated worldwide each year, and unfortunately, much of it finds its way to developing nations like China and India, that lack the infrastructure and regulations for safe reclamation or disposal. Discarded electronics are disassembled by low-paid workers in dangerous, sweatshop conditions, sometimes right in their own homes. Materials that cannot be sold for reuse are burned or dumped in landfills, creating an extreme environmental hazard for entire communities, for generations to come. In fact, the irresponsible management of e-waste accounts for some of the world's most severely polluted regions.
The e-Stewards Initiative was created in 2010 by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle-based non-profit organization dedicated to restricting trade in hazardous wastes, especially e-waste. BAN has been at the forefront of bringing attention to the global e-waste crisis, and understood the need for an industry-recognized standard that would give companies and consumers some assurance that e-waste was being responsibly reclaimed, and especially not exported to developing countries.
The e-Stewards Initiative is the world's first global e-waste recycler certification program, and the first to be endorsed by members of the environmental community, including Greenpeace USA, the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, and over 60 environmental organizations worldwide. There are currently close to 50 e-Stewards recyclers across the United States, with several others working toward certification. Certified e-Stewards recyclers must meet standards that include no incineration or landfill disposal of e-waste, and no exportation of e-waste to developing countries. The e-Stewards Certification program is available in all developed countries.
With landmark programs like Samsung Recycling Direct®, Samsung has already taken the lead in making sure that our products are managed responsibly at the end of their life cycle. Samsung was the first electronics manufacturer to sign on as an e-Stewards Enterprise, a commitment that reflects our continued dedication to environmentally responsible electronics recycling.
Our e-Stewards Certification confirms that e-waste collected within the Samsung Recycling Direct program will not be exported to developing countries, incinerated, or buried in municipal landfills. And because e-Stewards Certification also requires recyclers to protect consumer data throughout the recycling process, we're not just protecting the environment, we're also safeguarding your privacy and security by ensuring that no stored data on your old mobile phones, computers or other devices will wind up in the wrong hands.
The e-Stewards Initiative is continuing to broaden its network of responsible recyclers and is also developing a program to certify companies that collect and transport electronics. Along with Samsung, other major corporations have been named as e-Stewards Enterprises, including Bank of America, Boeing and Wells Fargo.
At Samsung, we look forward to maintaining and building upon our environmental track record, both by working with organizations like the e-Stewards Initiative, and by taking the lead within our industry. We're developing new models for recycling accountability, using more recycled and recyclable materials, and considering the impact of our products upon people and the environment at every stage of their life cycle. We're making sure that you'll continue to enjoy the most innovative technology while working towards a cleaner, greener world for everyone.