Computers and other office electronics play a big role in our lives, helping us perform tasks in an efficient manner. But electronic equipment is part of an increasing and complex waste stream that poses challenging environmental management problems for federal agencies because of the hazardous constituents in many of these products. Fortunately, many programs and resources can help you safely manage your unwanted electronic equipment in an environmentally sound manner.
Many of EPA's regional offices are taking part in the reuse and recycling of "technotrash"—small electronic items and computer accessories such as diskettes, CDs/DVDs and their jewel cases, and video, audio, and computer tapes and their cases. Any items that can be reused should be placed in a centralized location easily accessed by all staff members. Those items that cannot be reused can be collected and shipped offsite for recycling. EPA offices interested in starting a technotrash reuse and recycling program should contact EPA's Sustainable Facilities Practices Branch or explore the GreenDisk Web site Exit EPA Disclaimer for more information.
EPA’s Recycling Electronics and Asset Disposition (READ) Program provides all federal agencies with a tool to properly manage electronic inventories and unwanted equipment in an environmentally responsible manner.
EPA’s Product Stewardship Web page describes how electronic products can be made more sustainable by making electronic equipment with fewer toxic constituents and designing equipment with upgradability, durability, and recyclability in mind.
EPA’s Plug-in to E-Cycling is a program that aims to increase the number of electronic devices collected and recycled. It offers information about electronics recycling to the public, facilitates various partnerships to promote safe electronics recycling, and establishes pilot projects to test new approaches to electronics recycling.
Through the WasteWise Electronics Challenge, WasteWise partners pledge to reduce electronic waste by donating reusable equipment, buying remanufactured equipment, leasing electronics instead of buying, and recycling equipment that can no longer be used.
The Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) Exit EPA Disclaimer is a voluntary partnership program that encourages facilities and organizations to purchase “green” electronics, reduce the impact of electronics when using them, and manage unusable electronics in an environmentally safe manner.
EPEAT is a procurement tool developed by the Green Electronics Council to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides performance criteria for the design of products, and provides a list of manufacturers and their efficient products.
MNN Public Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency