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EPA and Pelham Students Learn Importance Of Recycling Electronics at Visit to Recycling Plant in Mt. Vernon, NY

Release Date: 03/15/2011
Contact Information: Jennifer May, (212) 637-3658, may.jennifer@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) Students from Pelham Memorial High School got an education today about the importance of recycling their Smart phones and other electronics on a tour of the WeRecycle! plant in Mount Vernon, NY. The state-of-the-art facility has an annual recycling capacity of 100 million pounds of electronic waste, known as e-waste. The tour, which marked President Obama’s “Education Month,” gave the students an up-close look at where their old cell phones and computers should properly end up.

Between 300 million and 400 million electronic items are disposed of in the United States every year. Less than 20% of that e-waste is recycled. Although e-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, it equals 70% of overall toxic waste, due to the presence of heavy metals.

“President Obama has declared March ‘Education Month,’ and what better way to highlight the importance of education than to talk to teenagers about the importance of recycling the many electronic gadgets they use every day,” said Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Today’s tour showcases a premiere facility that recycles the old electronic equipment. The sheer volume of the electronics that go through this facility each and every day illustrates the huge scale of the e-waste problem.”

WeRecycle! specializes in electronics recycling, using a process that separates potentially toxic components such as lead, mercury and cadmium, from other re-usable parts, and has been recognized as a leader in sustainable electronics recycling. It operates state-of-the-art processing facilities in three locations — two in Mount Vernon, NY and another in Meriden, Connecticut.

For more information on e-waste recycling, visit: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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