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EPA Recognizes Electronics Manufacturers and Retailers for Safe Management of Used Electronics

Release Date: 02/11/2016
Contact Information: Julia P. Valentine (News media only), valentine.julia@epa.gov, (202) 564-2663, (202) 564-4355

WASHINGTON -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized leading electronics manufacturers and retailers for their significant contributions in diverting electronics from landfills as part of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge. Together, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions saved through the recycling efforts of these companies is equivalent to taking more than 112,000 cars off the road for one year.

“Sustainability of our global resources requires business practices that incorporate environmental and economic considerations throughout the products lifecycle -- from extraction and manufacturing, through use and finally end of life," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “I congratulate the awardees and all SMM Electronics Challenge participants for their innovative efforts for diverting electronics from landfills and recovering valuable resources. Our Electronics Challenge participants are corporate role models and I encourage others to follow their lead by implementing these best practices.”

In 2013, the United States generated some 3.1 million tons of electronics waste. Not only do those discarded electronics contain potentially dangerous chemicals and pollutants if improperly disposed of, they also have precious metals, rare earth materials, plastics and glass that can be recovered and recycled. This increases the United States economic competitiveness and reduces costs, as well as environmental impacts, of securing and processing new materials for new products.

Leaders from Best Buy (Gold Tier Award), Dell (Gold Tier), LG Electronics (Gold Tier), Samsung (Gold Tier), Sony (Bronze Tier), Sprint (Gold Tier) and Staples (Gold Tier) gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate their environmental achievements, which include diverting 224,263 tons of used electronics from landfills in 2014. Of that, more than 99.7 percent (223,743 tons) was sent to third-party certified recyclers.

EPA also honored Dell and Samsung as SMM Electronics Champion award winners for exemplifying exceptional leadership and innovation in the sustainable management of electronics. These two companies serve as examples in demonstrating significant environmental, social and economic outcomes for their organizations and the public that go above and beyond the requirements of the SMM Electronics Challenge. Dell for creating innovative partnerships with Goodwill to increase recycling opportunities and with manufacturer Wistron to “close the loop” by using recovered plastics in new computers. Samsung for truly embracing the concept of sustainable materials management, by designing a mobile phone that looks across the product’s lifecycle– from using recycled materials in the product, peripherals and packaging, to increasing the longevity of the phone and ensuring it is nearly 100 percent recyclable.

Through EPA’s SMM Electronics Challenge, equipment manufacturers and retailers are promoting responsible electronics recycling. Challenge participants strive to send 100 percent of their used electronics to recognized third-party certified recyclers; increase the amount of electronics reused, refurbished, and recycled each year; and publicly report this information. These certifications are based on strong environmental standards for used electronics that maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health and the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used devices. The SMM Electronics Challenge supports President Obama’s National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship report (NSES) as it increases safe and effective handling of used electronics in the United States.

More information for consumers to find a location to donate or recycle their electronics:
http://www.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling

More information on the SMM Electronics Challenge and the NSES:
http://www.epa.gov/smm-electronics