Hard drives
Dell received an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for developing a closed-loop process for recovering rare earth elements from magnets in end-of-life hard-disk drives

EPA announces 2019 Electronics Challenge Awards winners

The winners diverted a combined total of 194,500 tons of electronics from landfills.

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December 23, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the winners of its 2019 Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge Awards, which recognize companies that are working to protect the environment. The agency reports that the eight companies it honored in 2019 diverted a combined total of 194,500 tons of electronics scrap out of landfills in 2018, which was sent to certified electronics recyclers instead.

“These companies represent the electronics industry’s leaders in sustainable product design and life cycle management,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The environmental benefits associated with keeping electronics out of landfills and recycling them for use in new products are enormous. EPA is proud to recognize the inventive and forward-thinking achievements of these companies.”

EPA will host a ceremony for the award winners at the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas. The winners of the 2019 Electronics Challenge Awards Gold Tier Awards include:

• Dell Inc.

• LG Electronics USA Inc.

• Samsung Electronics

• Sony Electronics Inc.

• Sprint

• Staples Inc.

• TCL North America

• Xerox

• Vizio Inc. 

EPA further recognizes Dell and Samsung Electronics as the Electronics Challenge Champion Award winners for innovation in an environmentally responsible way. These companies serve as examples in demonstrating environmental, social and economic outcomes for their organizations and the public that go above and beyond the requirements of the Electronics Challenge, the EPA states in a news release.

Dell is receiving the EPA’s Product Award for developing a closed-loop process for recovering rare earth elements from magnets in end-of-life hard-disk drives (HDDs). During the pilot, Dell diverted 660 pounds of magnet material from landfills to create 25,000 HDDs.

Also, Samsung is receiving the EPA’s Cutting-Edge Award for developing an affordable, upcycled and smartphone-based diagnosis camera to improve eye health care equality in underserved populations. Currently piloted in Vietnam, the camera extends the life of obsolete phones, uses 50 percent recycled content and is designed for easy reuse or recovery.

The EPA launched these awards in 2012 to encourage electronics manufacturers, brand owners and retailers to send used electronics they collect to certified electronics refurbishers and recyclers, the agency reports in a news release. The challenge’s goals are to increase collection of electronic equipment for reuse and recycling, to promote data transparency and to reduce the environmental impacts of electronic scrap.