e-recycling strategy supported
United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) administrator Lisa P. Jackson, general services administrator
Martha N. Johnson, and White House council on environmental quality
chair Nancy Sutley were joined by the CEOs of Dell Inc. and Sprint,
and senior executives from Sony Electronics to release the Obama
Administration’s “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship”
– a strategy for the responsible electronic design, purchasing,
management and recycling that will promote the burgeoning electronics
recycling market and jobs of the future here at home.
The announcement included the first voluntary
commitments made by Dell, Sprint and Sony to EPA’s industry partnership
aimed at promoting environmentally sound management of used electronics.
The Administration’s strategy also commits the federal government
to take specific actions that will encourage the more environmentally
friendly design of electronic products, promote recycling of
used or discarded electronics, and advance a domestic market
for electronics recycling that will protect public health and
Every year, Americans generate almost 2.5
million tons of used electronics, which are made from valuable
resources such as precious metals and rare earth materials, as
well as plastic and glass. From computers and cell phones, to
portable communication and music devices – the United States
is, and will continue to be, a global leader in designing and
developing new and improved electronic technologies.
The responsible management of electronics provides an opportunity
to create economic development and jobs by developing a strong
domestic electronics recycling market while preventing pollution
at home and abroad.
As outlined in the strategy report, the federal government will:
- Promote the development of more efficient and sustainable
- Direct federal agencies to buy, use, reuse and recycle
their electronics responsibly;
- Support recycling options and systems for American consumers;
- Strengthen America’s role in the international electronics
Under the new strategy, the United States General Services Administration
(GSA) will remove products that do not comply with comprehensive
and energy efficiency or environmental performance standards
– from its information technology purchase contracts used by
federal agencies, and will ensure that all electronics used by
the Federal government are reused or recycled properly.
In addition, EPA and GSA will promote development of new environmental
performance standards for categories of electronic products not
covered by current standards. Several federal agencies will work
together to identify methods for tracking used electronics in
Federal agencies to move toward reuse and recycling.
A key component of this strategy includes the use of certified
recyclers and increasing safe and effective management and handling
of used electronics in the United States and working with industry
in a collaborative manner to achieve that goal. As a first step
in this effort, EPA administrator Jackson in Austin, Texas signed
a voluntary commitment with Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell and Sprint
CEO Dan Hesse to promote a United States-based electronics recycling
market. Sony Electronics Inc. representatives were also present
and also committed to improving the safe management of used electronics.
This collaboration with industry aims to encourage businesses
and consumers to recycle their electronics with certified recyclers,
and for electronic recyclers to become certified. There are two
existing domestic third-party certification recycling entities,
R2 and E-Stewards. The electronics recycling industry is increasingly
embracing these certification programs. Certified recyclers are
regularly audited by these certification entities to ensure that
electronics are recycled in a manner that is safe for human health
and the environment.
As the next steps in this collaborative effort, EPA will continue
to work with industry to encourage other companies to voluntarily
commit to help grow the domestic recycling market, create the
green jobs of the future in the United States and educate consumers.
“A robust electronics recycling industry in America would create
new opportunities to efficiently and profitably address a growing
pollution threat,” said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson.