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Electronics Stewardship

E-waste is the largest growing waste stream in the country.  According to the most recent Environmental Protection Agency estimates, more than five million tons of electronics were in storage.  Of those, 2.37 million tons were ready for end-of-life management, yet only twenty-five percent were collected for recycling.

The Administration is committed to reducing e-waste and realizing efficiency by standardizing procedures across the government.  E-waste is a significant opportunity for the federal government, the world's largest consumer of electronics.  In 2009, the President issued Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance [PDF - 147.49 KB] which, among other things, called for the Federal community to promote electronics stewardship.  The Administration also established an Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship (the Task Force) led by GSA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) [PDF - 27.94 KB].  The President charged the Task Force with developing a National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship [PDF - 576.07 KB] (the Strategy), which the Task Force released in 2011.

As recommended by the Strategy, GSA first issued FMR Bulletin B-34, Disposal of Federal Electronic Assets [PDF - 64.27 KB] regarding electronic stewardship.  As a Bulletin, this document is non-regulatory.  GSA developed it in collaboration with our federal agency customers.  

To develop mandatory policy for the use and disposal of electronics, GSA published a Proposed Rule, Disposal and Reporting of Federal Electronic Assets [PDF - 238.23 KB], in the Federal Register on March 6, 2014.  Our rulemaking process seeks input from the public in order that we may fully consider all perspectives in the development of a Final Rule governing this policy.  The Proposed Rule contains instructions for how to submit a comment for consideration in the development of a Final Rule.  The regulation being revised is FMR 102-36 (41 CFR 102-36).  

We encourage public comment on the text of the policy itself, in addition to these specific issues related to the direction of our Federal policy:  

(1) the suitability and feasibility of bulk sale of functional Federal Electronic Assets (FEA) to certified recyclers only through public auction programs (not the general public as drafted in this proposed rule);

(2) restricting disposal of FEA in landfills or through incineration;

(3) what electronics recycling standards are in use or being developed; and,

(4) criteria regarding the technical content and other aspects of the electronics recycling standards that recyclers conform to in order to be considered “certified recyclers ” under this Proposed Rule.

"E-waste,” as used here, is a commonly used term for electronics that are no longer needed by the office which acquired them.  Under our policies, others will continue to use many of those federal electronics.  They are not actually "waste.”  

 

The shortcut to this page is www.gsa.gov/electronics.