EPA touts electronics recycling program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that retailers and electronics manufacturers participating in the agency’s Plug-In To eCycling program voluntarily recycled more than 34 million pounds of electronics in 2006. According to an EPA press release, last year’s recycling efforts generated energy savings equal to the energy needed to power over 7,000 U.S. homes and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to annual emissions from 12,000 cars. Since the program’s founding in 2003, more than 95 million pounds of electronics have been recycled.

“Our Plug-in partners have energized the industry to give consumers practical alternatives for recycling their used electronics," said Scott Sherman, EPA's associate assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response in the release. "When these materials are reused and recycled it is a win-win for both the community and the environment."

Prominent 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. According to EPA, approaches vary, but include online take back or trade-in programs, partnerships with local organizations to facilitate collections or host collection events at retail locations, and support for local recycling events with cities and municipalities.