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EPA and GSA Tour a Certified e-Stewards Electronics Recycling Business in Worcester/ Company Exemplifies Obama’s “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship

Release Date: 10/11/2011
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, 617-918-1027

(Boston, Mass.—October 11, 2011) At an event today, in Worcester, Mass. EPA’s regional administrator Curt Spalding, General Services regional administrator Bob Zarnetske, Congressman Jim McGovern andother state and local officials toured a New England electronics recycler as part of the Obama Administration’s “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship” – a strategy for the responsible electronic design, purchasing, management and recycling that will promote the sound electronics recycling (e-cycling) and jobs of the future here at home.

The event today at Metech Recycling Inc. exemplifies EPA’s partnership with industry aimed at promoting environmentally sound management of used electronics, which goes hand in hand with creating green jobs. As a certified e-Steward, the company operates all its facilities in accordance with the most stringent certification standard in the electronics recycling industry. The company employs 221 people, and expects to hire an additional 80 workers over the next 6-9 months to meet increased production demands.

“A growing electronic recycling industry has great environmental and economic potential--it makes addressing pollution profitable while also creating green jobs,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We applaud industry leaders like Metech Recycling. The participation of industry as well as government is essential to the success of this effort.”

This event follows the recent voluntary commitment from Dell, Sprint and Sony to promote certified recycling, protect public health, and support best practices in electronics stewardship. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has also committed 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 create jobs.

"E-cycling is good public policy and it's good business. Companies all over the country are proving that environmental stewardship can be profitable,” said Bob Zarnetske, regional administrator of GSA’s New England office. “This is an important emerging market and the federal government is here to help this industry grow jobs and improve the way we handle our resources."

“I believe we need to continue to foster green-companies, and encourage electronic recycling at the federal level,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “MeTech is creating a model for other companies to follow: environmental stewardship combined with green-collar job creation.”

“I applaud the Obama administration "National Strategy for Electronic Stewardship" initiative,” said Mayor Joseph O’Brien. “As Mayor to a city with a growing green economy and conscious of the impact that waste can have to our soil and water supplies I am proud to have an e-Stewards certified partner and leader as part of our community.”

“We are excited to see the federal government embark on this strategy to promote the use of certified electronics recyclers and believe this will help strengthen the industry within the US, allowing it to create jobs while accomplishing its primary goals of recovering valuable material resources and protecting the environment,” said Chris Ryan, President of Metech Recycling Inc. “We make it a priority to be a good corporate neighbor, providing electronics recycling services to the City of Worcester and Worcester State University, among others, and operate programs that support 7 Hills Foundation and Veterans, Inc.”

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 – 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 electronic products;
      direct federal agencies to buy, use, reuse and recycle their electronics responsibly;
      support recycling options and systems for American consumers; and
      strengthen America’s role in the international electronics stewardship arena.

GSA is also removing products that do not comply with comprehensive and robust energy efficiency or environmental performance standards – from its information technology purchase contracts used by federal agencies, and are ensuring that all electronics used by the Federal government are reused or recycled properly. In addition, EPA and GSA are promoting the development of new environmental performance standards for categories of electronic products not covered by current standards. Several federal agencies are working 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.

The 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 demonstrated in the event at Metech today, EPA continues to work with industry partners and encourages other companies to use certified recylcers to help grow the domestic recycling market, create the green jobs of the future in the United States and educate consumers.

More information on the EPA and industry collaboration:
http://www.epa.gov/electronicsstrategy

More information on GSA’s electronic stewardship goals and promoting federal agencies’ purchasing Environmentally Preferable Products:
http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/234565

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