i3 | June 14, 2019

Tech Companies Step Up to the Challenge

by 
Elliot Grimm

The combined efforts of companies participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Challenge achieved notable environmental results this year. By rethinking business and committing to innovation and eco-friendly operations, companies collectively diverted nearly 276,000 tons of end-of-life electronics from the landfill (primarily via third-party certified recyclers) and avoided the equivalent of more than 724,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. These reductions were the equivalent of taking more than 140,000 passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year.

CTA supports EPA in its effort to highlight tech companies finding environmentally responsible ways to use product’s materials throughout its life cycle. Through the SMM Electronics Challenge, EPA recognizes companies that successfully commit to innovative and responsible end-of-life electronics management.

The 2018 award recipients were honored this past March during a special ceremony at CTA’s office in Arlington, VA. Winners earned recognition for completing tier-based requirements at the bronze, silver or gold level, demonstrating strong leadership and commitment to reducing material waste.

Here are the tier-based SMM winners.

Challenge Winners:

Gold:
  • Dell
  • HP
  • LG Electronics USA
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Sony Electronics Inc.
  • Sprint
  • Staples
  • TCL North America
  • Xerox
Silver:
  • Best Buy
  • VIZIO

Champion Awards

EPA presented its Champion Awards in the categories of Product, Non-Product and Cutting Edge to recognize companies with strong leadership, innovative processes and environmentally friendly products.

  • The Product Award went to Dell for its closed loop gold recycling program, an initiative to reclaim gold from used electronics in order to reduce demand for mining of gold ore.
  • The Non-Product Award was given to Xerox for its strategy for take-back and remanufacturing of their toner cartridges and other imaging products.
  • The Cutting Edge Award was given to Best Buy for partnering with certified electronics recyclers to create TeenTech Centers, facilities helping contribute to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for underserved youth with the reuse of older electronics and new equipment.

The consumer tech industry continues to work to be more environmentally friendly, in both its products and operations. According to one study by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Golisano Center for Sustainability, since 2001, recycling weights have decreased because devices are becoming smaller, thinner and lighter.

In addition to companies delivering more sustainable products to consumers, they are also focused on material selection to ensure higher recyclability

Learn more about the SMM Challenge and how companies are extending the lives of tech products by visiting www.epa.gov/smm-electronics. And for tips on living and buying green, or to find your nearest recycling facility, visit GreenerGadgets.org.

Elliot Grimm