This is How to Do It Right

By |June 30th, 2015|

In the world of electronics it can be hard to find corporations truly working for positive change. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the companies who are really putting their efforts into finding and using better, more environmentally safe practices. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries does that every year, presenting its annual Design for Recycling Award to products meeting a series of stringent criteria.

To earn the Design for Recycling Award, a product must be designed (or re-designed) and manufactured in such a way that it:

Contains the most amount of recyclable materials possible;
Is easy to recycle using either […]

Getting Better All The Time

By |May 29th, 2015|

Are you tired of depressing recycling statistics and gloomy predictions for the future? You’re not alone. We all get tired of bad news. Right now, though, there’s some genuinely good news on the e-cycling front — and it’s not a new innovation that will take years to implement.

Today’s news is about what Americans have already been doing; and what we’ve accomplished in the past year is pretty darn impressive. In fact, 2014 was a record-breaking year for electronics recycling, and we’re on track to break another record in 2015.
What the numbers look like
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, here […]

Executive Order on Sustainability Takes a Step Backward

By |May 1st, 2015|

In 2006, the Green Electronics Council opened a new registry designed to recognize electronics manufacturers that met specific eco-conscious standards. Called the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, the registry rates the full environmental effects of electronic products.

To understand the all-encompassing nature of EPEAT, let’s compare it the more familiar Energy Star rating. While Energy Star focuses only on energy efficiency, EPEAT evaluates products for 51 separate criteria. These include the materials used in production, the longevity and recyclability of the product, the amount of energy used in production and consumer use and even the materials used in […]

Closing the E-Plastics Loop

By |March 31st, 2015|

When most people think of electronics recycling, they think of metals:  copper, aluminum, titanium and so on. These are the most common materials currently extracted from used electronics. There’s another valuable resource in those computers, smartphones and tablets, though — and it’s one that’s been largely overlooked by U.S. industry.

That resource is plastic.
What’s so valuable about used plastic?
By this time, everybody in the world understands that plastics — especially the plastic remains of old electronics — are piling up in mountains all over the planet. But all that plastic is far more than just ugly, toxic trash that we […]

Update on CRT Glass

By |February 27th, 2015|

CRT glass continues to be a pressing issue for e-cyclers in 2015. As old CRT displays are replaced by newer LCD and plasma displays, e-cyclers are faced with a growing pile of lead-treated glass. The question of how to handle this increasing stockpile is a difficult one, and real solutions still appear to be mostly in the future. Here’s a quick update on CRT glass in the news:
What’s in a name?
When CRT glass is used as alternative daily cover on a landfill, has it been recycled, or simply disposed of? According to the U.S. EPA, that’s a good question […]

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    Re-Thinking the Concept of E-Waste: the Green Electronics Challenge

Re-Thinking the Concept of E-Waste: the Green Electronics Challenge

By |January 29th, 2015|

Used electronics — we’ve described them as a growing mountain of trash, a danger to the environment and a toxic threat to the health of recycling workers in Third World countries. And we’re certainly not alone. All over the world, concerned organizations are focusing on how to safely dispose of electronic waste.

But what if we viewed all those millions of old smartphones, computer parts and e-gadgets not as garbage to get rid of, but as resources to put to use?

That’s the convention-busting paradigm shift behind the Green Electronics Challenge, and it’s the hopeful future of e-cycling.
An worldwide community of […]

3 Steps to a Green Christmas

By |December 18th, 2014|

Tis the season to be jolly — and, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, the time for Americans to gift each other with more than $33.7 billion worth of headphones, tablets, laptops and smartphones. This is an enormous amount of money, but it comprises just a small percentage of the $211 billion the CEA estimates we’ll have spent by the end of 2014.

Our Christmas gift-giving habits are great for the national economy. Unfortunately, they’re not so great for the environment. Each time we replace an old electronic device with a new one we’re likely adding to the world’s growing […]

New Problems, New Solutions

By |November 26th, 2014|

In the recycling world, it seems like as soon as one problem is solved, another one turns up. The introduction of high-density lithium-ion batteries have made it possible to store solar energy more efficiently and to power electric cars. We use lithium-ion batteries in our mobile phones and laptop computers. From hand-held surgical tools to cordless power tools, lithium-ion batteries are providing long-lasting, efficient energy in ways that benefit the world and the environment.

But there’s a catch.

Despite the fact that lithium is fully recyclable and reusable, it’s not being recycled — leaving us once again dependent on a few […]

The Greener Future of Video Gaming

By |October 23rd, 2014|

Cell phones, smartphones, computers and monitors — you know these are all part of the mountain of e-waste we’re building with our out-of-date electronics. But there’s another, less obvious addition to the list of environmental offenders, and it’s one that bears consideration as we head into the holiday gift-buying season: video games and gaming systems.

Last year, more than 40 million video game consoles were purchased by gamers all across the globe. Here in the U.S. we spent over $20 billion on video gaming, with new PlayStation’s, Wii’s and Xbox’s accounting for nearly a quarter of that amount. Alongside this, […]

E-Cyclers Take Aim on CRT Glass

By |October 1st, 2014|

For years, electronics recyclers have had one big problem: CRT glass. That’s the glass used in the displays of old televisions and computers, and it’s really difficult to dispose of. In the past, glass-to-glass recycling was common practice, and old CRT displays were simply recycled to make new CRT displays. Now, though, cathode ray tubes have been replaced by LCD and plasma displays, so there’s no longer a simple way to recycle the CRT glass that’s loaded with lead and other toxics.
The CRT Stockpile
With practically no demand for CRT glass, e-cyclers are piling up great stores of the stuff […]