EPA Honors Sprint, Samsung, Sony, Staples

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized leading electronics manufacturers and retailers for their outstanding achievements in used electronics stewardship under the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge.

Leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. from:
  1. Best Buy
  2. Dell
  3. LG Electronics
  4. Panasonic
  5. Samsung
  6. Sony
  7. Sprint 
  8. Staples 
They gathered to celebrate their environmental achievements, which include diverting more than 220,000 metric tons of used electronics to third party certified recyclers in 2013. This is a notable increase of 7.6% since 2012.

Notably absent: Apple.

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions saved from this increase is equivalent to removing more than 8,500 passenger cars from the road for one year.

"Electronics are made of valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, plastic and glass – all of which require energy to extract and manufacture," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "Improper handling of discarded electronics can result in serious health consequences to communities and workers. The efforts by these leaders to collect, track and recycle used electronics is a great step towards addressing these public health concerns, conserving materials, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

EPA also recognized Best Buy, Dell, Sprint, and Samsung as SMM Electronics Champion award winners for demonstrating significant environmental, social and economic outcomes for their organizations and the public that go above and beyond the requirements of the SMM Electronics Challenge.

The United States generates almost 3.4 million tons of electronic waste per year—and that number is growing. By participating in the SMM Electronics Challenge, leaders in the electronics industry are rethinking business as usual as they commit to increasing the amount of used electronics they collect and, in addition, sending 100 percent of used electronics to third-party certified refurbishers and recyclers. Through this Challenge, the EPA is trying to provide a transparent and measurable way for companies to endorse safe and environmentally protective practices for the refurbishment and recycling of used electronics, and to publicly show progress toward recycling goals.

The SMM Electronics Challenge supports President Obama’s "National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship" as it embodies efforts to increase safe and effective handling of used electronics in the United States.

In the November 2010 Presidential Proclamation for America Recycles Day, the President established the Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship with the EPA as one of the lead agencies. The Task Force released the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship report in 2011 outlining the federal government's plan to enhance the management of electronics throughout the product lifecycle - from the design to the eventual recycling or disposal of a product.

More information on the SMM Electronics Challenge: http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/smm/electronics/index.htm
More information on the National Strategy: http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/materials/ecycling/taskforce/index.htm
More information on certified recycling: http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/materials/ecycling/certification.htm

Kathleen HurleyEPA, Samsung, Sony, Sprint, Staples