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How does the e-Stewards Standard address the management of mercury-containing devices?

A: Mercury is a highly toxic substance that can pose significant risks to human health and the
environment if not managed properly. Many electronic devices, such as LCD displays, switches,
and relays, contain mercury, making the management of mercury-containing devices a critical
concern in electronic waste recycling. The e-Stewards Standard includes specific requirements
for the management of mercury-containing devices to ensure that they are handled and processed
safely and responsibly. Key requirements include:

  1. Identification and segregation: Mercury-containing devices must be identified and
    segregated from other electronic waste streams to facilitate proper downstream
  2. Safe handling and storage: Mercury-containing devices must be handled and stored in a
    manner that prevents breakage, releases, and exposures to workers and the environment,
    including the use of appropriate containers and storage areas.
  3. Removal of mercury: Prior to processing, mercury-containing components must be safely
    removed from devices and managed separately as hazardous waste.
  4. Processing requirements: Mercury-containing devices and components must be processed
    only in facilities that are properly licensed, permitted, and equipped to handle mercury
    safely and recover or dispose of it responsibly.
  5. Restrictions on processing methods: The e-Stewards Standard prohibits the use of certain
    processing methods for mercury-containing devices, such as incineration or uncontrolled
    smelting, which can release mercury into the environment.
  6. Downstream due diligence: Certified recyclers must conduct due diligence on
    downstream vendors involved in the processing of mercury-containing devices to ensure
    that they are operating in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and using
    best available technologies for mercury recovery and pollution control.
  7. Final disposition: Mercury recovered from electronic devices must be either retired in a
    secure, monitored storage facility or sold for legal reuse, with a preference for retirement
    to reduce the global mercury supply.
    By establishing strict requirements for the management of mercury-containing devices, the eStewards Standard aims to prevent the release of mercury into the environment and protect
    workers and communities from the health risks associated with mercury exposure.