Dell, Sony, Sprint Vow to Push Recycling; Feds Unveil E-Waste Strategy

by | Jul 21, 2011

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Dell, Sprint and Sony have agreed to help the Environmental Protection Agency encourage certified electronics recycling, as the Obama administration unveiled a national strategy to encourage better e-waste management.

The three companies have joined an EPA-industry partnership designed to promote environmentally sound management of used electronics. In addition, the CEOs of Dell and Sprint signed a voluntary commitment with the EPA to promote a U.S.-based electronics recycling market.

Under the EPA strategy published yesterday, called the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (pdf), the federal government’s purchasing arm will only buy IT products that comply with environmental performance standards, and will ensure that all government electronics are reused or recycled properly.

The strategy also commits the federal government to

  • Promote the development of more efficient and sustainable electronic products;
  • Support recycling options and systems for American consumers; and
  • Strengthen America’s role in the international electronics stewardship arena.

The collaboration aims to encourage businesses and consumers to recycle their electronics with certified recyclers, and for electronic recyclers to become certified, the EPA says.

“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.

But some environmental groups were less than impressed with the EPA strategy.

“Sadly, this report is a living contradiction,” said Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network. BAN operates e-Stewards, one of the nation’s two major e-recycler certification programs. “On the one hand it claims to promote responsible recycling and job creation here in the U.S., but then does nothing to prevent e-waste exporting, which   squanders our critical metals resources, and poisons children abroad while exporting good recycling jobs from our country.”

“We have other companies like Dell, HP, Apple, Samsung that have set the leadership bar there, so I don’t understand why our own federal government can’t do the same with its own e-waste,” said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the Electronic TakeBack Coalition.

More information on the EPA’s e-waste efforts is here.

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