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Electronic recycling takes step forward

July 21, 2011

KXAN News Austin
Jessica Brorman

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The use and production of electronics continues to grow at a dizzying pace. That means every new electronic product, whether it’s a Blackberry, PC, iPod or flat-screen TV, is future e-waste.

E-waste is the 2.5 million tons of old and obsolete electronic equipment that Americans discard every day. And it contains toxic materials that flow into our waste stream.

Obama administration officials met with senior executives from Sony, Dell and Sprint Wednesday at an Austin electronics recycling center to sign and release a strategy for the responsible management and recycling of electronic products.

The strategy, titled the “National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship,” is a step in creating economic development and jobs by creating a strong electronics recycling market.

The venture includes the first voluntary commitments made by Dell, Sprint and Sony to the Environmental Protection Agency’s industry partnership aimed at promoting the environmentally sound management of used electronics.

It also aims to encourage businesses and consumers to recycle their electronics with certified recyclers, and for electronic recyclers to become certified.

The federal government is the nation’s largest single consumer of electronics. Through this report, it committed to take specific actions that will encourage the more environmentally friendly design of used or discarded electronics, and advance a domestic market for electronics recycling that will protect public health and create jobs.

As outlined in the strategy report, the federal government will:

– Promote the development of more efficient and sustainable electronic products Direct federal agencies to buy, use, reuse and recycle their electronics responsibly
– Support recycling options and systems for American consumers
– Strengthen America’s role in the international electronics stewardship arena.

Nancy Sutley, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the partnership is not only good for human and environment health, but will have an economically sound effect as well.

“This strategy will encourage the recycling of these valuable resources and allow the take advantage of the economic opportunities of remanufacturing and create jobs of the future here in America,” Sutley said.

Dell CEO Michael Dell said this agreement will help the company reach its goal to recycle 1 billion pounds of end-of-life electronics by 2014.

“We encourage everyone in our industry to commit to easier, more responsible recycling as we all work to protect our planet,” Dell said.

A statement released by the Texas Campaign for the Environment said that although this report shows positive steps in fixing America’s e-waste problem, more legislative action need to take place to really make a difference.

“The report released by the EPA detailing a national task force for electronics recycling standards has many good steps in the right direction, but the recommendations in the report don’t go far enough. Texas Campaign for the Environment and allies are pushing a bi-partisan, federal bill to halt illegal e-waste export dumping overseas. We would like to have the support of all members of Congress and the President on this very important legislation that will boost jobs and economic growth in America.”

The non-profit organization that works to improve and protect the quality of life for Texans and the environment. It has worked with the national Electronics TakeBack Coalition to pass federal legislation to put an end e-waste.

TCE also has a federal legislative campaign that pushes lawmakers to make electronics producers take back and recycle their obsolete products and to ban the exportation of e-waste.


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