This year, America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, is placing special emphasis on electronics recycling. This is welcome news for SERI's executive director, John Lingelbach. Lingelbach is encouraged by the progress being made in the recycling arena by members of SERI's R2 Leader Program, a coalition of corporations, governmental and non-profit organizations working together to provide sustainable solutions for electronics recycling and reuse. SERI hopes that by calling attention to the successful efforts of R2 Leaders, other companies and communities will be encouraged to follow suit and make a difference in their own spheres of influence.
Just a few of the ways R2 Leaders are improving the electronics recycling landscape:
Keep America Beautiful is an effective leader in changing recycling attitudes and habits with initiatives such as America Recycles Day. "People commonly think of paper, plastic, and aluminum as recyclable items, but electronic devices are generally not top of mind," says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. "The EPA estimates that 70 percent of used electronic devices are stockpiled in homes and small businesses or end up in landfills. It's important to know that every one of these gadgets can be responsibly recycled - and made into new products - which reduces the need to mine for new resources."
XEROX Corporation held its first America Recycles Day event in 2006 for employees, contractors and consultants. More than 57,000 pounds of electronics were collected in just eight hours. Since then, XEROX has expanded the event to include collection of bicycles, clothing and household items. Employees are enthusiastic about the opportunity to get rid of these items, and both the community and environment benefit.
DIRECTV provides their customers with the ability to recycle not only DIRECTV equipment, but also other small electronic devices. Partnering with Avnet (an R2 certified recycler) DIRECTV invites customers to visit their website to print out free shipping labels for eligible electronic devices. More than 16 million pounds of electronics were recovered in 2013, and more than 24 million pounds in 2014 as a result of DIRECTV's e-cycling program.
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) created an E-Waste Recycling Event Toolkit to simplify the process for communities holding collection events. Included are resources such as a qualified recycler directory, marketing materials, educational resources and best practices for collection events. Since 2009, ADEQ has held over 100 electronics (e-waste) collection events in approximately 50 cities throughout Arizona.