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US consumer electronics industry to triple annual recycling by 2016

US consumer electronics industry leaders have this week launched what is believed to be the first-ever industry-wide electronics recycling initiative to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016, which would be a more than threefold increase over 2010.

The eCycling Leadership Initiative seeks to improve consumer awareness of the more than 5,000 collection sites currently sponsored by industry; increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly; increase the number of collection opportunities available; and provide transparent metrics on eCycling efforts. One billion pounds of electronics, if not properly recycled, would fill about 88.9 million cubic feet, equivalent to an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium.

"The launch of the eCycling Leadership Initiative is a watershed moment in the history of electronics recycling in the United States," says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. "Our members have been on the =forefront of eCycling advancements, and today a forward-thinking industry is challenging itself to go even further."

The eCycling Leadership Initiative is a collaboration among consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organisations and governments at all levels, coordinated by CEA2E.

The Initiative is also looking at ways to continue to work with the Obama Administration's Taskforce on Electronics Stewardship, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, and General Services Administration, that is currently developing a national strategy for responsible electronics recycling.

"The billion pound challenge is about both the quality and quantity of electronics recycling," says Walter Alcorn, CEA's vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability. "But we won't stop at a billion pounds. The eCycling Leadership initiative is an ongoing, permanent initiative that will follow the best practices and commitment of industry, including practices that prohibit the use of recyclers and downstream processors who dump end-of-life electronics in developing nations."

CEA supports the movement toward third-party recycler certification and encourages more recycling in such facilities. Specific to the eCycling Leadership Initiative, the consumer electronics industry supports the voluntary implementation of these recycler certification systems so that the billion pounds is recycled in third-party certified facilities.

"This unique industry-led approach transcends the patchwork of current state recycling regulations with an aggressive set of industry goals and standards," adds WalterAlcorn. "Through the ecycling Leadership Initiative, the consumer electronics industry is moving toward a national solution and away from the costly and confusing patchwork of state regulations."

A major component of the initiative will be consumer education, including new online tools and mobile apps, to help make recycling used electronics as easy as buying new ones. The eCycling Leadership Initiative will bolster the number of collection sites by working with state and local governments, and charities for additional sites.

In order to enhance the initiative's transparency and accountability, CEA will issue an annual national progress report that will measure eCycling growth, using 2010 as a baseline. Additionally, as part of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, CEA will report on the capacity and performance of recycler third-party certification systems. Such a report will review progress during the start-up phase for third-party certification systems and provide the basis for future consumer electronics industry commitments regarding third-party certified recyclers.

The Consumer Electronics Association is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $186 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES - The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services.

T: +1 703-907-7600
W: www.ce.org

15th April 2011

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