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new proposed policy to be approved at staff meeting
Free Geek is committed to reuse and recycle technology in an environmentally friendly manner and provide access to computers, the internet, education and job training in exchange for community service.
We do so by adhering to the following principles:
- Commitment to the prevention of pollution, of injury and ill health.
- Compliance with applicable legal and other requirements related to the environmental, health and safety aspects of our business.
- Commitment to continual improvement.
- Commitment to providing a framework for setting and reviewing environmental, health and safety objectives and targets.
- Commitment to communicating the policy to the public and to all people working for or on behalf of Free Geek.
- Prohibition of export of hazardous electronic waste throughout the recycling chain in accordance with the Basel Convention, Basel Amendments, OECD decisions and the laws of the importing, exporting and transiting countries.
- Commitment to the values of social accountability including the prohibition of child and prison labor.
- Commitment to educating our customers with regard to data security and privacy requirements, and ensuring secure data destruction procedures of donated material.
Free Geek is complying with all applicable laws and regulations and will implement new programs and procedures to assure compliance. Compliance requirements will be communicated to all levels of the organization, and will be incorporated into training, in-house audits, and performance reviews.
Oregon e-Waste Requirements:
- “Computers and other electronic devices that are legitimately recycled are not subject to management as hazardous waste… Legitimate recycling means dismantling of the computers and other electronic equipment into recyclable components for resource recovery.” (from DEQ fact sheet “Managing Used Computers and Other Electronic Equipment," 1/11/07 )
- Oregon E-Cycles  is a state-wide program set up in response to Oregon HB 2626, enacted in 2007. The bill created and financed a statewide collection, transportation, and recycling system for desktop computers, portable computers, monitors, and televisions (Covered Electronic Devices or CEDs).
- Oregon E-Cycles includes requirements applying to both collection and recycling. Collection is defined as “receiving, sorting, screening and preparing for transportation CEDs from covered entities.” Recycling is defined as “disassembling, dismantling, shredding, transforming, or remanufacturing CEDs, components, and by-products into usable or marketable raw materials or products in a manner such that the original products may lose their identity.” Based on these definitions, Free Geek is categorized as a collector and recycler. Free Geek also transports CEDs.
- Oregon E-Cycles lists a number of specific Environmental Management Practices  that must be followed. Oregon E-Cycles conducts annual audits to determine compliance with the Environmental Management Practices. Copies of recent Free Geek audits are included here:
- The Oregon DEQ Site Visit Checklist for Free Geek is shown here:
- DEQ prepared the report “Electronics Waste Collector and Dismantler Site Visits” dated June 28, 2011  after visiting Free Geek and other facilities.
Voluntary e-Waste Programs:
- The Basel Action Network (BAN) , was founded in 1997 and named after the Basel Convention, a UN treaty that restricts trade in hazardous wastes and was intended to stop dumping of e-waste in developing countries. BAN developed the e-Stewards Pledge program in 2003, and Free Geek later made the Pledge. The Pledge program sunsetted in 2011 and was superseded by the e-Stewards Certification program . Free Geek has elected not to obtain e-Steward Certification at this time due to the stringency and cost of meeting certain standards. For example the standards require the mass balancing of materials entering and leaving the facility, but Free Geek does not have scales for weighing materials. Also, items need to be tested and labeled as “functional,” but Free Geek sells some items “as is.” e-Stewards Certification is really intended for larger companies.
- An alternative to e-Stewards Certification is the Responsible Recycling (R2) Certification . R2 Certification was developed by the US EPA and stakeholder groups to promote best practices in the e-waste recycling industry. Free Geek is currently working toward R2 Certification by preparing an Environmental Health and Safety Manual.
Risk Reduction and Pollution Prevention
Free Geek is integrating environmental health and safety objectives into the design of Free Geek processes. Free Geek is looking for ways to minimize the potential for adverse environmental impacts and to minimize health and safety risk to Free Geek staff, volunteers, and customers. Free Geek assures that current downstream vendors also comply with this environmental, health and safety policy.
- To comply with Free Geek's principles.
- The Action Committee continuously reviews Free Geek's processes, as well as downstream vendor processes and looks for opportunities for improvement.