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New Innovative Partnership with Staples, Electronics Manufacturers to Take Back E-waste from Customers

Release Date: 01/09/2004
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(01/09/2004) - At the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, EPA will announce a new partnership with Staples and the Product Stewardship Institute to test a pilot “take-back program” as a new approach for recycling used electronics. The new partnership is part of EPA’s “Plug-In To eCycling” campaign that promotes electronics recycling by working with manufacturers and retailers, including AT&T Wireless, Best Buy, Dell, Envirocycle, Inc., Intel, JVC, Lexmark, Nxtcycle, Panasonic, Recycle America Alliance (a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc.), Sharp, Sony, and Staples, to increase public awareness and sponsor collection events.

“EPA is looking to other manufacturers and retailers to follow the partnership lead in providing Americans more convenient access to safe recycling of their old electronics,” said Barry Breen, EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, who officially unveiled the new partnership.

As part of the CES trade show, EPA will hold an Environmental Recognition Luncheon Jan. 10 to announce the new pilot, commend its partners and recognize Philips Consumer Electronics as the winner of the Innovations Award for Environmental Design for their 30” LCD FlatTV. The special award was created by the Consumers Electronics Association to recognize companies for integrating environmentally-friendly characteristics—efficient and clean energy use, innovative manufacturing processes, durability and end-of-life resource conservation—into their products. Philips’ 30” LCD FlatTV features at least 40 percent less energy consumption and weighs significantly less than comparable products.

The Consumers Electronic Association unites more than 1,000 companies within the U.S. consumer technology industry. The Product Stewardship Institute, operating out of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, assists state and local governments to work with industry to reduce the health and environmental impacts from consumer products. CES is expected to draw over 110,000 attendees and 2,300 exhibitors from more than 110 countries.
    Electronics are a fast growing portion of America's trash – with 250 million computers destined to become obsolete by 2005. Electronics can present an environmental hazard if they are disposed of improperly, because they contain mercury, cadmium, lead, brominated flame retardants and other toxics. With an average of four pounds of lead in many older TV picture tubes and computer monitors, along with other potentially hazardous materials, electronic products call for special handling at the end of their lives.

    Under the partnership with Staples and the Product Stewardship Institute to be announced by EPA on Jan. 10, electronics manufacturers Apple, Brother, Dell, Epson, Intel, Lexmark, Panasonic, Sharp, and Sony will pay for the recycling of their name brand products taken back to Staples. A recycling company called Envirocycle will ensure safe recycling of these products. EPA expects to partner with manufacturers and retailers to conduct additional pilot projects in the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota in the coming year. The states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire will undertake the first pilot project in 26 retail stores.

    Plug-In To eCycling is an outgrowth of EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) initiative, which identifies and uses innovative, flexible, and protective ways to conserve natural resources and energy. Introduced in 2003, the RCC establishes partnerships and alliances with industry, states and environmental groups, and provides training, tools and technological assistance for businesses governments and citizen groups.

    For more information on the Plug-In To eCycling program, go to: .
    For more information on the CES, go to: ; and on the RCC, go to: .