The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Arlington, Virginia, has announced that more than 4 billion pounds of consumer electronics (CE) have been recycled since 2010 through the eCycling Leadership Initiative (ELI). According to the Sixth Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, approximately 630 million pounds of CE were recycled in 2016, which is more than double the amount recycled when the program was launched.
“As consumer demand grows for the latest consumer tech products, so does our industry’s commitment to increasing sustainability,” says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We want to make recycling your older tech devices as easy as purchasing new ones. And through the eCycling Leadership Initiative, we’ve proven how technology manufacturers and retailers are having a real impact on improving the environment. Ensuring a healthy planet for future generations to enjoy our greatest innovations isn’t just smart business—it’s essential to the future of the consumer technology industry.”
Spearheaded by CTA in 2011, ELI is a collaboration among manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, nongovernmental organizations and governments at all levels. The initiative’s key goals are to improve consumer awareness of the available collection sites sponsored by the industry, to increase the number of collection opportunities available to consumers and to provide transparent metrics on ecycling efforts.
Highlights of the ELI report include:
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, consumer electronics have the fastest growing recycling rate of any product category in the U.S.
- The consumer tech industry has dedicated more than $1 billion to recycling consumer electronics—more than any other industry has ever spent on recycling consumer products in the United States.
- More than 8,000 responsible recycling locations are now available to consumers throughout the United States.
- By the end of 2016, all the recycling facilitated by ELI’s participants was conducted in third-party certified recycling facilities.
A recent study from The Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Golisano Center for Sustainability, with support from Staples and CTA, found that while the number and type of products sold have increased, net material consumption has declined to levels not seen since the early 1990s. RIT also reports the use of materials of concern, such as lead and mercury, has declined significantly in the manufacturing of tech devices.
“We applaud the manufacturers and retailers who made this initiative a remarkable success,” said Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, CTA. “Today, our favorite tech devices are smaller, lighter and recycled more often than ever before. And by working together, the industry has demonstrated its ability to harness innovation and raise consumer awareness—an effort we hope will have lasting benefits for the environment.”