Earth Day & Electronics OEMs: Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution

On the eve of Earth Day 2017, the electronics industry should take stock of its impact, good and bad, on the world. Electronic manufacturers need to consider environmental impact of their products, from design to end of life and support consumers who want to do the same.  

Each American household now houses approximately two dozen electronic products and annual electronics sales in the U.S. are greater than $206 billion, according to the National Conference State Legislature (NCSL). That means that the deluge of used electronic products needed to be managed continues to rise. Further, in the current political climate, U.S. environmental policy is under increased scrutiny.

At the same time, governments, businesses and individuals are increasingly aware of the need. More than half (56%) of consumers are willing to pay more to use environment-friendly (“green”) products, an uptick of three percentage points from the 2010 level (53%), according to GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer.

Manufacturers and retailers are sponsoring return programs and recycling events. Half of the states in the union have enacted legislation establishing a statewide electronic waste, or e-waste, recycling program, according to NCSL. Two models have emerged:

  1. The extended producer responsibility model, under which the manufacturer pays to collect and recycle products covered on state laws
  2. The advanced recycling fee model, where consumers pay retailers a small fee ($6 to $10) at purchase which is then put into a statewide recycling fund.

Last week, Call2Recycle, a consumer battery stewardship and recycling organization, announced its all battery service that provides one-stop battery collection and recycling for both rechargeable and single-use (AA, AAA, 9v, D-cell and button cell) batteries under 11 lbs. at more than 20,000 sites throughout the United States. By collecting all types of batteries, the program aims at increasing recycling rates. 

Consumers are a critical part of the equation. The infographic below offers some thing that anyone can do to help take care of the world.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

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