In December, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the winners of the 2018 Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge Awards. Designed to recognize electronics companies that design sustainable products and processes, while keeping electronics out of landfills, the EPA launched its inaugural challenge in 2012.

Companies that participated in the 2018 challenge kept approximately 276,000 tons of electronics from going to landfills by diverting it to certified recyclers, according to the EPA. Impressively, this amounts to the equivalent of saving the energy that powers roughly 100,000 homes for an entire year.

The EPA held a ceremony at the Consumer Electronics Show in January to highlight the work of the winners. Those honored at the Las Vegas event included Gold Tier winners Dell, HP, LG, Samsung Electronics America, Sony, Sprint, Staples, TCL, and Xerox, as well as Silver Tier winners Best Buy and VIZIO. Dell, Xerox, and Best Buy were also honored as the Electronics Challenge Champion Award winners for their efforts to create innovative processes and products utilizing materials in an eco-friendly manner throughout their life cycles.

Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge

The SMM Challenge was designed to encourage electronics manufacturers, brand owners, and retailers to try to send 100% of used electronics collected from the public, businesses, and internally to third-party certified electronics refurbishers and recyclers. The Challenge is guided by three main goals, including:

  • Practice responsible recycling by partnering with third-party recyclers.
  • Raise awareness and accountability by publicly posting electronics collection recycling data.
  • Inspire participants to do their very best by giving awards and recognition.

Donating and Recycling Electronics

Companies aren’t the only ones who can donate and recycle used electronics. Consumers can also participate in this eco-friendly practice that conserves natural resources and prevents air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.

If enough people band together, the impact can be significant. For example, one million recycled laptops saves the energy needed to power the equivalent of more than 3,500 homes for an entire year, according to the EPA. The Agency also revealed that one million recycled cell phones allows 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium to be recouped.

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