On Wednesday, Dell CEO Michael Dell, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and senior executives from Sony Electronics joined EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to release the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship. The new strategy has four key goals: building incentives for the design of greener electronics, ensuring that the federal government leads by example, increasing the safe and effective management and handling of used electronics and reducing harm from e-waste exports.
The report also provides examples as to how the federal government and businesses can help achieve these goals.
Incentives for Greener Electronics
- Promote consumer purchasing of certified green electronics
- Launch electronics stewardship prize competitions
- Expanding quality green electronics certification programs
Federal government leads by example
- Establish a transparent government-wide policy on used electronics, focusing on reuse
- Improve tracking of used government electronics
Used electronics management and handling
- Launch voluntary partnerships with the electronics industry
- Guidance on ensuring facilities offer employees a safe and healthy working environment
Reducing harm from e-waste exports
- Improve information sharing
- Provide technical assistance to developing countries
- Incentivize safe handling of used electronics
- Support ratification of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
As Americans bring more electronics into their households, safe electronic waste recycling will be a growing concern. According to the EPA
, “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.”
When combined with the new strategy, the increased use of electronics may lead to an increased need for domestic certified electronic recyclers and this means more green jobs.
“A robust electronics recycling industry in America would create new opportunities to efficiently and profitably address a growing pollution threat,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The participation of industry leaders like Dell, Sprint and Sony is absolutely essential to this effort, and will help ensure that the work of the federal government — the largest electronics consumer around — is protecting our people from pollution at the same time we support savings and job creation through e-cycling and re-use of valuable materials.”