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Encouraging Industry-Led eCycling Policies



Consumer electronics industry is operating the first-ever industry-wide electronics recycling initiative to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016.


The eCycling Leadership Initiative seeks to improve consumer awareness of the over 8,000 collection sites currently sponsored by industry; increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly; increase the number of collection opportunities available; and provide transparent metrics on eCycling efforts. One billion pounds of electronics would fill about 89 million cubic feet, equivalent to an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium.

Initiative Programs

The eCycling Leadership Initiative programs are committed to promoting responsible recycling of consumer electronics and we have established a set of principles to guide our efforts nationwide.

CEA's CRT Challenge:

  • CEA, along with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) andInnoCentive announced a second CRT Challenge on April 1, 2013 to identify financially viable, environmentally-conscious proposals for using recycled cathode ray tube (CRT) glass.
    • Dr. Thomas Engelhardt was the winner of the CRT Challenge. His solution is to use the leaded CRT glass in the vitrification of nuclear waste. Vitrification is a mature technology that has been used for more than 40 years. It involves the melting of waste material with glass-forming additives so that the final glassy product immobilizes the waste material, trapping the lead and the other elements in the glass. The Environmental Protection Agency has declared vitrification to be the “best demonstrated available technology” for heavy metals and high-level radioactive waste.
  • CEA, Environmental Defense Fund and InnoCentive announced the winners of an Eco-Challengein 2012 to develop compelling economic and environmentally preferable solutions for  recycling old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and monitors. Winners:
    • Mario Rosato, an environmental engineer from Spain who has won four previous InnoCentive Challenges, proposed a closed-loop process for separating the lead from the glass in a form with high market value for a variety of industries.
    • Nulife Glass Processing Ltd., based in Manchester, U.K., proposed a solution that utilizes an extremely energy efficient electrically heated furnace, uniquely designed to produce minimal emissions. Find out their progress inWorld's First CRT Recycler Coming to New York.
    • Robert Kirby, a mechanical engineer from New Mexico, submitted an idea for combining CRT glass with cement to create tile and bricks that are tested, labeled and sold specifically for applications where lead shielding is required, such as X-ray and fluoroscopy rooms.
CEA recently produced and distributed a new educational initiative on ecycling by creating outreach tools for use in 4th to 6th grade classes in several key states.  The lesson plans are available for free online and were distributed in hard copy in partnership with Young Minds Inspired.  The lessons teach students how ecycling can help reduce the environmental impact of their technology choices and promote a more sustainable future. Students learn to create an ecycling action plan for their family and launch a campaign to encourage electronics recycling in their community.

Below is a recent television PSA CEA produced and distributed highlighting the importance of ecycling and how easy it is to recycle.


Year Four of the eCycling Leadership Initiative

The eCycling Leadership Initiative just completed its fourth year with even more successes. Specifically, participants of the eCycling Leadership Initiative arranged for the responsible recycling of 660 million pounds of consumer electronics. Additionally, there are more than 8,500 responsible recycling locations now available to consumers throughout the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

To find out more about the fourth year, please read The Fourth Year Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative.


Year Three of the eCycling Leadership Initiative

The eCycling Leadership Initiative just completed its third year with even more successes. Specifically, participants of the eCycling Leadership Initiative arranged for the responsible recycling of 620 million pounds of consumer electronics. Additionally, there are more than 8,000 responsible recycling locations now available to consumers throughout the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

To find out more about the third year, please read The Third Year Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative.


Year Two of the eCycling Leadership Initiative

The eCycling Leadership Initiative just completed its second year with more big successes. Specifically, participants of the eCycling Leadership Initiative arranged for the responsible recycling of 585 million pounds of consumer electronics, a 27 percent increase over the 460 million pounds recycled in 2011. Additionally, electronics manufacturers and retailers increased the number of recycling drop-off locations for consumers nationwide to more than 8,000 from just over 5,000 two years ago.

To find out more about the second year, please read The Second Year Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative.

Year One of the eCycling Leadership Initiative


The eCycling Leadership Initiative completed its first year in 2012. Participants of the eCycling Leadership Initiative arranged for the responsible recycling of 460 million pounds of consumer electronics in 2011, a 53 percent increase over the 300 million pounds recycled in 2010. Additionally, electronics manufacturers and retailers increased the number of recycling drop-off locations for consumers nationwide to nearly 7,500 from just over 5,000 in 2010 .

To find out more about the first year, please read the First Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative

Watch this video to find out more:




Our Principles


The Billion Pound Challenge

Increasing industry-led electronics recycling to one billion pounds annually. 
 

  • One billion pounds is more than three times the amount of consumer electronics companies recycled in 2010 (300 million pounds).
  • To put that in context, a billion pounds of used electronics is 89 million cubic feet or roughly the size of the average 71,000-seat NFL stadium.
  • Irresponsible recycling of electronics – usually informal, labor-intensive handling without customary safeguards for workers and the environment – is unacceptable, whether here or abroad. We will continue to avoid using recyclers and downstream processors who dump electronics in developing nations.
  • We support the broader movement toward third-party certified recyclers as a step toward ensuring that all electronics recycling – particularly recycling arranged by entities outside the consumer electronics industry – is done responsibly. We encourage more recycling in such facilities.
  • The consumer electronics industry supports implementation of these recycler certification systems so that, at a minimum, the 1 billion pounds we have challenged ourselves to recycle is done so in third-party certified facilities.

 

Education

Raising eCycling awareness: 
 

  • More than 8,000 permanent collection sites available nationwide and growing.
  • Electronics manufacturers and retailers practicing strict recycling standards that protect human health and the environment, including practices that prohibit the use of recyclers and downstream processors who irresponsibly dispose of electronics, whether here or abroad.
  • Recycler requirements developed and implemented by the consumer electronics industry that have served as the model for standards in the nascent recycler 3rd party certification system, including downstream auditing, triage processes for reusable equipment, and throughput tracking.
  • The consumer electronics industry supports emerging recycler 3rd party certification systems and is working with recyclers and other stakeholders to make these systems an effective “floor” for recycling performance.
  • Nationwide mail-back and drop-off options for most small electronics.

 

Infrastructure, recycling enhancement

Expanding opportunities for consumers to recycle and the amount recycled by:
 

  • Not using recyclers and downstream processors who irresponsibly dispose of electronics.
  • Working with state and local governments to maintain and develop new consumer eCycling opportunities that build upon existing solid waste infrastructures and follow industry’s strict standards.
  • Enhancing partnerships with charities and other community-based organizations to recycle electronics responsibly.
  • Emphasizing continual improvement by partnering with state and local governments to assess where additional eCycling infrastructure is needed.

 

Measurement and transparency

Publishing national progress reports using 2010 as a baseline that include:
 

  • The more than 5,000 industry-sponsored collection opportunities across all 50 states in 2010.
  • 300 million pounds of eCycling by the consumer electronics industry in 2010.
  • A national CEA recycling survey conducted in September 2012 found 63 percent of all consumers knew where they could recycle their consumer electronics. (CE Recycling and Reuse 2012 Edition)
  • The status of nascent recycler third-party certification systems and the capacity of certified recycling facilities.


STAFF CONTACTS

WALTER ALCORN
Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability
703-907-7765 
walcorn@CE.org

DOUG JOHNSON
Vice President, Technology Policy
703-907-7686
djohnson@CE.org

ALLISON SCHUMACHER
Sr. Manager, Environmental Policy and Sustainability
703-907-7631
aschumacher@CE.org

NATIONAL ECYCLING FRAMEWORK

 
  • June 2015 – The recently-published EPA annual report on trends in the generation, recycling and disposal of solid waste in the United States says that as of 2013, consumer electronics (CE) is the fastest-declining part of the municipal waste stream. Generation of CE waste decreased almost four percent from 2012 to 2013, even as the weight of all municipal solid waste was up by 1.22 percent. CEA is sharing these facts with U.S. policymakers and media to help reverse the incorrect perception of an ever-growing "e-waste tsunami."