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EPA and Temple University Share Expertise at Electronics Recycling Conference for Colleges and Universities

Release Date: 02/17/2010
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 or heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (February 17, 2010) -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Temple University’s Computer Recycling Center (CRC) joined forces to share advice on electronics recycling with colleges and universities in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond.

The joint event highlighted how on-campus electronics recycling can benefit the schools, students, local communities, reduce energy costs, conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In response to the growing concerns over the hazards of disposing of computers and related electronic hardware, Temple University created the Computer Recycling Center (CRC) in 2003 to decrease the number of computers being disposed of in landfills. Since its inception, the Computer Recycling Center has recycled thousands of computers and other electronics. A tour of this award-winning facility was part of the day’s agenda.

The CRC has pioneered a comprehensive life-cycle approach for electronics. Reducing environmental impacts is promoted by making every effort to reuse computers, monitors, printers, and other electronic equipment. University departments, students, faculty and staff are then given access to these computers at significantly reduced rates while other computers are donated to local schools and community organizations. Temple has about 14,000 computers in operation at any given time.

Many electronic devices contain lead, mercury, nickel, and cadmium, all of which can be harmful to the environment when disposed of improperly. Computers also contain valuable materials, which can be recovered and reused. "Americans dispose of an estimated 14 to 20 million computers annually and this number is going to keep on growing,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Temple University has a great recycling program and we think it is important for them to share their accomplishments with other colleges and universities, so hopefully they can mirror Temple’s success.”

When reuse is not feasible, recycling is practiced and computers are shipped to a nearby facility for remanufacturing. CRC’s practice of reuse and recycling has also helped to reduce energy consumption, conserve natural resources and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases.

Representatives from 13 colleges and universities attended the conference including: Drexel, Villanova, LaSalle, St. Joe’s, Community College of Philadelphia and the University of the Arts from the Philadelphia area as well as other colleges from throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

CRC was awarded an Environmental Achievement Award by the mid-Atlantic region of EPA during September 2009, one of only 10 such awards presented to business, non-profit and governmental entities across Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

For more information on Electronics recycling go to: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/ecycling/index.htm.

For more information on Sustainability go to: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/spp/index.html.