AUSTIN, TEXAS (July 20, 3:15 p.m. ET) — The federal government will leverage its purchasing power to drive the electronics manufacturing and recycling industries toward more sustainable products and practices, according to a report released today by an interagency taskforce on electronic stewardship.
The 34-page report was released as Obama administration officials gathered at Round2 Recycling Facility in Austin, Texas, to discuss the findings of the taskforce.
According to the report, the federal government should establish a comprehensive and transparent policy on used federal electronics that maximizes their reuse and ensures that all federal electronics are processed by certified recyclers.
The government will also ban its e-waste from entering landfills, according to the report.
The report said that the federal government will split its electronic equipment into two streams, functional and nonfunctional. The functional equipment will be donated to schools and nonprofit organizations or will be sold to private consumers. Nonfunctional equipment will be taken to third-party certified recyclers or handed over to manufacturers for their take-back programs.
The report said that government should encourage more methods to reuse and recycle electronics, and encourage the design of greener electronics with fewer hazardous materials and less virgin materials.
The task force also calls for an expansion of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) to include additional electronics devices. The EPEAT rating is available for computers and monitors.
The U.S. EPA estimated that the U.S. generated about 2.4 million tons of e-waste in 2010, comparable to the 2.3 million tons that China produced that same year.