EPA honors recycling achievements in the electronics industry

Agency announces 2018 winners of the Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge Awards.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the 2018 winners of the Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge Awards, which honor sustainable products and processes and the diversion of electronics from landfills.  

“The participants in the Electronics Challenge saved roughly 276,000 tons of electronics from going to landfills and instead diverted it to certified recyclers,” says EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The commitment of these companies to sustainable management of electronics proves that innovative business practices and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.”

“We thank EPA for joining with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)—owner and producer of the Consumer Electronics Show—to recognize the technology manufacturers and retailers making a real impact toward reducing our environmental footprint,” says CTA Vice President for Environmental Affairs and Industry Sustainability Walter Alcorn. “Each of this year’s winners exemplifies our industry’s commitment to increasing product sustainability and protecting the planet for future generations. Thanks to the leadership of these companies and others, the technology industry now uses less materials to produce tech devices than it did 20 years ago—even as the number and type of products available to consumers has significantly grown.”

EPA will hold a ceremony at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2019 to showcase the work of the winners. The winners of the 2018 Electronics Challenge Gold Tier Awards are:

Silver Tier Award winners are Best Buy and VIZIO.

EPA is also recognizing Dell, Xerox and Best Buy as the Electronics Challenge Champion Award winners for what it says are innovative processes and products that use materials in an environmentally responsible way throughout their life cycles. These companies serve as examples in demonstrating environmental, social and economic outcomes for their organizations and the public that go above and beyond the requirements of the Electronics Challenge, the agency says.

Dell is receiving the Product Award for its closed-loop gold recycling program. By creating partnerships, Dell overcame the challenge of sourcing gold for its products by reusing gold from recycled electronics in new computer motherboards. They also increased consumer awareness of the value of used electronics through “creative and impactful outreach,” EPA says.

Xerox is receiving the Non-Product Award for its takeback and recycling program in partnership with Close the Loop, Hebron, Kentucky, a recycler of toner cartridges. In 2017, the takeback program reused 725 tons of material, recycled 1,050 tons and kept all these materials out of the landfill. 

Best Buy is receiving the Cutting-Edge Award for its Teen Tech Centers. In partnership with certified electronic recyclers, these centers increase science technology engineering and math (STEM) education by encouraging the exploration of technology through training in coding, digital music and film production photography, 3D design and other STEM disciplines by reusing older electronics.

EPA’s Electronics Challenge encourages electronics manufacturers, brand owners and retailers to strive to send 100 percent of the used electronics they collect from the public, businesses and within their own organizations to third-party certified electronics refurbishers and recyclers. The challenge’s goals are to:

  • address the entire life cycle of electronic products;
  • help ensure responsible recycling;
  • increase collection of electronic equipment for reuse and recycling;
  • promote data transparency; and
  • conserve valuable resources and energy.

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

More information on the Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge and how to participate is at www.epa.gov/smm-electronics.


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