WASHINGTON, D.C.—Retailers and electronics manufacturers voluntarily recycled more than 34 million pounds of electronics in 2006 as part of their commitment to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Plug-In To eCycling program. The program is a voluntary partnership between EPA and electronics manufacturers and retailers to offer consumers more opportunities to donate or recycle their used electronics. Since 2003, Plug-In partners have recycled more than 95 million pounds of electronics.
“Our Plug-In partners have energized the industry to give consumers practical alternatives for recycling their used electronics,” says Scott Sherman, EPA’s associate assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “When these materials are reused and recycled it is a win-win for both the community and the environment.”
Electronics are made with valuable resources such as precious metals, engineered plastics, glass, and other materials, all of which require energy to manufacture. Conserving resources helps reduce emissions and pollution otherwise generated by extracting virgin materials. As a result, Plug-In partner recycling efforts last year generated energy savings equal to the energy needed to power more than 7,000 U.S. homes and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to annual emissions from 12,000 cars.
Plug-In partners have taken various approaches—either national or regional—to give individuals eCycling options. Partners may offer online take back or trade-in programs, create partnerships with local organizations to facilitate collections or host collection events at retail locations, and support local recycling events with cities and municipalities. Plug-In partner initiatives are successful because they share responsibility for recycling among manufacturers, retailers, governments and consumers. These efforts often complement local recycling efforts.
EPA’s Plug-In to eCycling Partners include: Apple, Best Buy, Cingular, Dell, eBay’s Rethink initiative, HP, Intel, JVC, Lexmark, NEC Display, Office Depot, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Staples and Toshiba.