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EPA Launches Voluntary Program to Encourage Responsible E-waste Recycling

Date: October 3, 2012

Source: News Room

The EPA has launched a voluntary program to encourage companies to use certified recyclers to handle all of the used electronics that they collect, within three years of signing the Sustainability Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge. EPA says the program will make using third-party certified recyclers the industry standard and will also reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution from the mining and manufacture of components used in electronics, including precious metals, copper, plastic and glass. Environmental groups however, say EPA's program does not go far enough to stop the shipping of electronic waste to developing countries, where environmental safeguards are lax to non-existent. Used electronics often contain lead, cadmium, mercury, organic solvents, hexavalent chromium, beryllium or other toxics. The US generates almost 2.5 million tons of electronic waste per year, making the safe management and recycling of used electronics increasingly important, according to a Sept. 20 statement from EPA.

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