The Importance of Recycling E-waste Responsibly
GSA and the EPA hosted an electronics recycling event on the Denver Federal Center during the summer of 2012. Events like this have been held before; what sets this one apart from the rest, is that it’s open to the public as well. The idea behind this event is to not only provide a convenient and local way to manage for the community to dispose of their e-waste properly, but also to convey the value of recycling electronics.
GSA and the EPA are hoping events like this one will build stronger bonds with tenants on the Denver Federal Center as well as the surrounding community, and allow a larger group to take advantage of this recycling program.
In the electronics recycling process, valuable materials can be recovered from the electronics that can be used to be made into new products. As a result we reduce pollution and save energy by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth.
The Denver Federal Center consists of 623-acres, bustling with more than 6,000 federal employees and about 600 visitors and deliveries each week. While agencies become more aware of their carbon footprint and their budgets shrink, GSA expects future diversion rates to decrease.
The materials diverted from local area landfills helps to extend the life of municipal landfills, creates jobs for local area recyclers, and provides a valuable education program to promote the value for waste reduction efforts for everyone. Recycled items include things like light bulbs, batteries, and electronics. In addition to the diverted waste, employees are taking what they're learning at work and sharing or initiating similar programs in their local communities.
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That is the sweet sound of electronic e-waste headed to be recycled. About 75% of electronics still go into the landfill according to the EPA. The federal government is the nation's largest single consumer of electronics, purchasing about $14 billion of IT equipment annually. That's why, the Denver Federal Center has taken it to task to divert e-waste into proper recycling facilities and keep it out of landfills. GSA and the EPA hosted this recycling event on the Denver Federal Center this summer. The value of this event that we're doing by opening it up to the community, is not only to provide them with a convenient local way of managing their e-waste and have it disposed of properly, but it also is a great way for us to educate our community, educate our neighbors as to the value as to why do we need to recycle. GSA and the EPA are hoping events like this one will build stronger bonds with the DFC tenants as well as the surrounding community, allowing a larger group to take advantage of this robust recycling program. By providing consumers convenient and consistent or reliable opportunities to recycle their electronics in a safe way we can recover valuable materials from electronics that can be used to be made into new products. As a result we reduce pollution and save energy by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth. With the help of a local small business electronics recycling company, DFC was able to collect four tons of electronics waste at this event. Unfortunately not all e-waste ends up like this. About 70% of the e-waste material that's collected in this country is shipped into developing countries unprocessed - creating very toxic environments. Because this material, if it is not managed correctly, can have a very negative impact to environments in the communities that receive it. So, we take it very seriously and we have a very a high standard. We are an e-steward certified company, which represents the highest global standard of material management and worker safety in all of our plants In addition to protecting the environment through safe processing of e-waste, it's important to ensure any sensitive information that may still on the devices is destroyed as well. GSA is hoping this electronics recycling trend will take hold and the surrounding community will have more opportunities to recycle again through this program.