President Barack Obama recently announced a cross-agency task force to combat electronic waste (e-waste). TheCouncil on Environmental Quality (CEQ), EPA, and the General Services Administration (GSA) are all part of the task force focused on decreasing e-waste and helping the federal government set an example for the American people on responsible electronic disposal practices.
President Obama celebrated the increase of general recycling efforts by Americans, but suggested that more could be done. He explained that many electronics contain valuable, nonrenewable resources, such as precious metals and rare earth minerals. Recycling these components could conserve materials, prevents air and water pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur during extraction, manufacturing, and processing.
“Used electronics represent the fastest growing segment of local solid waste in our country. Far too many used electronics end up in landfills or are exported to nations where there is little capacity for safe management. Rather than benefitting from the reuse and recycling of valuable components, we see increased exposure to the toxic chemicals and other harmful substances in electronic devices,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA has made the handling of used electronics and e-waste one of our top priorities, and through this task force the U.S. can become the world leader in sustainable electronics management. There are cost-effective and potentially profitable methods to better manage these materials and prevent health and environmental threats at home and around the world.”
To read President Obama’s full proclamation click here.