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Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship – US EPA

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Event

EPA held an event on July 20, 2011 in Austin, TX to educate the public about certified recycling, describe EPA’s 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.

EPA will:

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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 Nation’o;s most responsible consumer of electronics by implementing the following recommendations.

EPA will:

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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.

EPA will:

More information on Recycler Certification

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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 University’s Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative Exit EPA 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.

EPA will:

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