Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship US EPA
- Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship
- National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (PDF) (34 pp, 559K)
- Frequent Questions on Electronics
- Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics
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EPA held an event on July 20, 2011 in Austin, TX to educate the public about certified recycling, describe EPAs next steps, and share examples from industry about their experience establishing a commitment to use certified recyclers and to implement comprehensive electronics management procedures. Below are the signed documents on Promoting the Safe Management of Used Electronics.
EPA is working with other Federal Agencies to enhance the management of used or discarded electronics around the world. The responsible management of electronics is an opportunity to prevent pollution, conserve valuable resources, create jobs, and invest in our economic development. Under the overarching goals laid out in the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (PDF) (34 pp, 559K), EPA is committed to do the following:
Build Incentives for Design of Greener Electronics, and Enhance Science, Research and Technology Development in the United States
Our responsibility to manage electronics depends on our ability to innovate, find new methods to reuse and recycle, and design greener products that have reduced environmental impacts across their lifecycles and are easier to recycle. The Federal Government can help drive improved electronic product design, manufacture, and technology development in a variety of ways. The National Strategy identified the following steps to advance green design and ensure that better design standards are supported by consumer demand and are economically viable.
- Continue engaging in the development of voluntary consensus based product environmental performance standards for electronics, which provide market advantage to products meeting them;
- Sponsor a 2012 workshop on Green Electronics Design;
- Complete a screening level life cycle assessment of plastics in consumer electronics;
- Fund innovative small business research on rare earth element recovery from used electronics;
- Issue an open innovation challenge for apps that enhance value recovery during used electronics processing; and
- Collaborate with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to research health and safety in used electronics processing facilities both in the US and developing countries.
Ensure that the Federal Government Leads By Example
As one of the largest consumers of electronics, the Federal Government has the particular opportunity and responsibility to purchase, use, and recycle its electronics with the goals of: protecting public health and the environment; creating new and strengthening existing markets for reused, refurbished, and recycled electronic equipment and materials; expanding opportunities for domestic job creation; improving electronics design and management practices; and safeguarding data. The Federal Government will lead by example in this effort by ensuring that it is the Nationo;s most responsible consumer of electronics by implementing the following recommendations.
- Continue to provide federal agencies with guidance on environmentally responsible reuse and recycling of electronics, through the Federal Electronics Challenge until GSA establishes a government-wide policy on used Federal electronics;
- Develop a baseline set of criteria to be included in electronics recycling standards that are to be used in managing Federal Governments used electronics; and
- Work with the accreditation boards to determine the need for a study on the implementation of the current used electronics certification programs.
Increase Safe and Effective Management and Handling of Used Electronics in the United States
American businesses, government, and individuals share the opportunity and responsibility in becoming better stewards of our global environment. The Federal Government recognizes its lead role in guiding and facilitating activities to achieve this shared goal. The Federal Government can engage communities, state, tribal and local governments, nonprofits, academia, and industry to increase recycling rates using certified recyclers, prevent discarded electronics from ending up in our landfills and expand our capacity to recycle used electronics for the betterment of our economy, health and environment.
- Continue to promote the safe electronics management and recycling through activities such as:
- Working with industry leaders to develop safe, transparent, and measurable/trackable recycling strategies and launch a voluntary partnership.
- Encouraging the use of recyclers who are certified to an accredited management standard, such as R2 or eStewards.
- Encouraging recyclers to become certified.
- Continue to work with industry and encourage companies to join a voluntary partnership. This voluntary partnership with industry is the key to growing the domestic recycling market and creating green jobs in the United States.
Reduce Harm from US Exports of E-Waste and Improve Safe Handling of Used Electronics in Developing Countries
As American consumers continue to upgrade their computers, cell phones and TVs for the latest and most modern devices, a growing stream of e-waste from this turnover in products is producing unintended effects in the US and abroad. Used electronics in developing countries, which include exports from the US and other developed countries, combined with electronics discarded by their own consumers, are causing negative health and environmental effects. Defining the international flows of used electronics will help the Agency understand factors that contribute to unsafe end-of-life management.
EPA recently signed a cooperative agreement with UN Universitys Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative to begin to gather data on e-waste flows from the US to other countries that can be used by governments, enforcement officials and others to make decisions regarding management of the exports/imports of used electronics and to inform relevant policies.
- Develop and implement a system for making information on used electronics flows available to the public;
- Develop an agreement for sharing export data on electronics across Federal agencies;
- Discuss ways in which to gather and share accurate data on used electronics exports;
- Continue to build upon domestic efforts of improving management of discarded used electronics while addressing the problems caused when used electronics are exported to developing countries that lack the capacity to manage them safely;
- Continue to develop an integrated program that will provide tools and potential solutions at various points in the process to reduce environmental and health risks.
- Propose changes to the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Rule to better track exports of CRTs for reuse and recycling;
- Work with the Department of State to explore options for strengthening US participation in the Basel Convention, including options that would enable ratification.