On Tuesday, Administrator Johnson and I visited Global Environmental Services (GES), a certified electronics recycling company in Georgetown, Kentucky. We visited GES to tour the facility and discuss new opportunities created by the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, which is an interagency effort to address responsible design, purchasing, management, and recycling of electronics.The National Strategy’s goal is to turn the federal government, the largest consumer of electronics in the country, into the most responsible consumer through a series of changes to how we purchase electronics and how we dispose of them. Companies like GES will help us archive this goal and will add jobs to their payroll in the process. GSA has an important role in the National Strategy because we are responsible for $65 billion a year in procurements, including $3 billion in IT equipment. We will use our purchasing power to drive design changes to reduce products impacts across their lifecycles by removing products that don’t meet energy efficiency and environmental standards from our IT purchase contacts. Additionally, we will ensure that all electronics used by the federal government are reused and then recycled properly using certified electronic recyclers and ban used federally owned electronics from landfills.
Electronics contain large quantities of rare, valuable, and hazardous materials. At facilities like GES they are diverted from landfills so that hazardous and reusable materials can be reclaimed to prevent hazard to human health and the environment.
At GES we saw promising prospects for growth in the electronics recycling business because the National Strategy directs federal e-waste stream to certified electronic recyclers. This initiative will foster burgeoning recycling industries and create green jobs, while reducing our landfill disposal of materials that go into everyday electronics. GES CEO Kenneth Gravitt said it best, “this announcement will mean jobs, jobs, jobs and expansion and the opportunity to give more back” for companies like his.