EPA’s E-cycling guidelines

The Environmental Protection Agency put out its voluntary Responsible Recycling Practices for electronic waste materials, which can be used as guidelines for accreditation programs to verify that electronic recyclers in the US and outside the US are handling, recycling and even refurbishing their materials in a safe and responsible manner.

The guidelines target materials such as cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and CRT glass; circuit boards (unless they have had batteries and mercury-containing items removed and are lead free); batteries; and items containing mercury and/or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), both in EOL equipment and when separated as components.

“There should be no doubt that choosing to reuse or recycle used electronics is the right choice for our environment,” said Susan Parker Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “These voluntary guidelines will help assure Americans that their used electronics will be recycled safely and responsibly.”

EPA says the guidelines calls on recyclers to establish a management system for environmental and worker safety; develop a policy that promotes reuse and material recovery over landfill or incineration; use practices that reduce exposures or emissions during recycling operations; as well as call for recyclers to use diligence to assure appropriate management of materials throughout the recycling chain, including materials that are exported to foreign countries.

The guidelines were developed by the federal and state governments, electronics manufacturers and recyclers, and trade associations. EPA says These groups will now focus on establishing a certification process, which will allow consumers easily to recognize responsible recyclers in the marketplace.

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