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EPA and GSA Highlight “Ecycling” on America Recycles Day

Deborah Ruiz (GSA) 202-208-0861
deborah.ruiz@gsa.gov

Josh Singer (EPA) 312-353-5069
singer.joshua@epa.gov

CHICAGO – Nov. 15, 2011 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the General Services Administration highlighted the benefits of electronics recycling today at a certified “eCycling” facility for America Recycles Day.

“Instead of creating pollution, our user electronics can be supporting local jobs through eCycling,” said EPA Region 5 Land and Chemicals Division Director Margaret Guerriero. “It’s essential that used electronics are taken care of in the right way.”

Each year, Americans generate approximately 2.4 million tons of used electronics. Recycling these electronics reduces the amount of raw materials extracted from the earth by recovering valuable materials, saves the energy needed to make new products and reduces landfill waste. Improper disposal of electronics, such as illegal dumping, can harm people and the environment through the release of substances such as lead and mercury.

Third-party certification of electronics recyclers to standards developed by either Responsible Recyclers or e-Stewards® ensures used electronics are properly managed.  EPA officials, GSA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann Kalayil, and state officials toured Com2 Recycling Solutions, which has both R2 and e-Stewards® certifications.

The GSA buys products for the federal government, the nation’s largest single consumer of electronics. GSA leads by example with proper management of electronics resources. EPA, GSA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have developed a strategy to combat problems caused by the unsafe handling of used electronics, including proposals for federal agencies to use certified electronics recyclers.

“The U.S. government is among the country's largest consumers of technology and it seeks to be the most responsible users," Kalayil said."When these products have outlived their productivity, it is essential that we encourage the responsible disposal of electronics that will help create a more sustainable future and promote job growth in the recycling industry."

The tour at Com2 showed how the company stores, sorts, dismantles and tracks old computers, televisions and other devices. Com2 currently receives nearly 5 million pounds of leaded glass per month at its Carol Stream facility, mainly from older TVs and computer monitors with cathode ray tubes. Roughly 20 percent of the discarded electronics Com2 accepts are refurbished and sold at its store in Lombard. The company employs 88 people and plans to hire more.

“We expect strong growth due to the positive direction electronics recycling is taking both domestically and internationally,” said Saheem Baloch, owner of Com2. “We hope that being the first facility in the state with both R2 and Basel Action Network e-Stewards® certifications will help us generate additional business and create more jobs.”

For more information about eCycling: www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/

For a copy of the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship: www.gsa.gov/graphics/admin/National_Strategy_Electronics_Stewardship_2011.pdf

For more information about Com2:  www.com2computer.com/