Tech waste from discarded computers, smart phones, older cell phones, monitors and other outdated tech is a big and global problem. While electronics waste comprises only 2-3 percent of the solid waste stream in the USA, the lead, cadmium, chromium, and other materials in aging circuitry account for 70 percent of the hazardous material in landfills, according to an EPA report.
E-waste recycling should be a bipartisan issue. For example, 2019’s “Secure E-Waste and Recycling Act” (SEERA) was introduced in the House and Senate with both Republican and Democratic sponsors. The focus of the bill, which limits the types of electronics that can be exported to the developing world, was inspired by a 2012 Senate report that uncovered counterfeit electronic parts in Air Force cargo planes, a Navy surveillance plane, and Special Operations helicopter assemblies. Those fakes were connected, partially, to e-waste that had gotten into counterfeiter hands. SEERA still sits with the house’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
Under the 2015 executive order “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade,” the Obama Administration created the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (NSES), which had several goals, including developing incentives for environmentally friendly electronics, increasing safe management of used merchandise and reducing e-waste exports to developing countries. In May of 2018, President Trump signed the “Executive Order Regarding Efficient Federal Operations,” which revoked a lot of Obama’s “Planning” order.
Does your nonprofit have a commitment to responsibly disposing of its IT? What resources hep you meet that commitment?
Are you a volunteer with a tech recycling initiative?
Do you know of any nonprofit recycling efforts in your community?
Share your info, practices and questions!