Consumer Electronics Industry Plans to Triple Recycling Rate By 2016
Apr 13, 2011
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U.S. consumers may have no idea where to go to recycle their consumer electronics; soon there'll be an app for that. It's one of the steps planned by the eCycling Leadership Initiative, launched today as the first-ever industry-wide electronics recycling initiative. The initiative hopes to achieve the recycling of one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016 – more than tripling the 2010 recycling rate.

The eCycling Leadership Initiative seeks to:
• improve consumer awareness of the 5000 collection sites sponsored by the industry
• increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly
• increase the number of collection opportunities available
• provide transparent metrics on eCycling efforts.

A billion pounds of electronics, if not recycled, would fill about 88.9 million cubic feet, which the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said was the equivalent of a 71,000-seat NFL stadium.

The eCycling Leadership Initiative is a collaboration among consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations, and governments at all levels, coordinated by CEA. The initiative launched on April 13, 2011, at an event in Washington, D.C. Attendees included, among others, executives from appliance and electronics retailer Best Buy and appliance/consumer electronics OEMs Panasonic Corp. of North America, Sony Electronics, and Toshiba America Information Systems.

Walter Alcorn, CEA’s vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, described the initiative as "an ongoing, permanent initiative that will follow the best practices and commitment of industry, including practices that prohibit the use of recyclers and downstream processors who dump end-of-life electronics in developing nations."

The initiative is also hoping to work with the Obama Administration’s Taskforce on Electronics Stewardship, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and General Services Administration (GSA), which is developing a national strategy for responsible electronics recycling.

"This unique industry-led approach transcends the patchwork of current state recycling regulations with an aggressive set of industry goals and standards,” Alcorn said. He said the industry is moving toward a national solution and away from the state regulations, which he called a "costly and confusing patchwork."

For transparency and accountability CEA will issue an annual national progress report that will measure eCycling growth, using 2010 as a baseline. Additionally, as part of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, CEA will report on the capacity and performance of recycler third-party certification systems.

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