Waste > Electronic Waste

When batteries, thermostats, computers, electronics, and other potentially hazardous electronic wastes are improperly disposed, they can pose significant risks to public health and the environment.

Choose an e-Steward® electronic waste recycler to ensure that your electronic waste is being properly recycled. By choosing an e-Stewards Recycler, individuals and businesses are choosing the most trustworthy recyclers, ones that have been independently verified to handle e-waste in the most globally responsible way — using safe technologies and careful protections for workers

Check with the e-Stewards Recyclers in your area about recycling your e-waste. For a list of e-Stewards Recyclers and more about e-Stewards Certification, see www.e-stewards.org.

e-Stewards Certification is the only marketplace solution supported by the environmental community and the most responsible electronics recycling companies. It was created to be both principled and practical, and it joins other best-practice certification programs such those by the Marine Stewardship Council and Forest Stewardship Council, as the most protective standard and the most rigorous program for verifying recyclers are doing things right.

Giving away or selling used electronics are great ways to extend their use and keep them out of landfills. Some services provide second-hand computers to schools or nonprofits, so your functional old computer could become a valuable tool for someone in need. Please assure that an e-Stewards certified recycler is used by whomever you donate your used electronics to.

No matter where you take your e-waste—to collection events, recyclers, or take-back programs—you should be sure that 100% of the electronic equipment will go only to e-Stewards Recyclers. It’s the best way to protect the global ecosystem and human health when it comes to electronics recycling.

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

Student involvement can reduce demands on staff time and departmental resources. Student involvement can also help attract support from facilities, athletics, recreation, campus administration, and other departments. The following idea is one example of a task for students to conduct in your sports facilities. This preliminary student project could help facilitate interest in establishing e-waste recycling programs across all sports facilities. Consider encouraging interested students to do the following:

E-Waste Drive:

Host a used electronics recycling event at a major sports event. Arrange to have a local e-Stewards–certified recycler to help collect and haul the waste. Publicize the event well in advance, with outreach to all teams, dorms, and campus departments. Circulate notices with information about the kinds of electronic waste that will be accepted, and post signage at the event with pictures of acceptable items.

Visit the relevant page in this guide for more ideas for Student-Led Project Ideas.

*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*

Hazardous waste management at your sports facilities can help your institution earn points within the “Waste” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It can directly contribute to earning 1 point for the credit “OP 25: Hazardous Waste Management.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Batteries and electronic waste (e-waste) constitute one of the most polluting portions of an office waste stream. Batteries and e-waste – such as computer monitors, printers, and cell phones – contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. When thrown into the trash, they end up in landfills or incinerators, and these toxic heavy metals can be emitted as air pollutants or drain into soils and waters, polluting lakes and streams and making them unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing, and wildlife.

The key to responsible e-waste recycling is knowing where your stuff will end up. Watch out for any recycler who ships discarded electronics to developing countries for processing. Avoiding sending our garbage overseas saves on greenhouse gas emissions and helps protect workers and the environment in developing countries.

According to the Basel Action Network, more than 80 percent of the world’s e-waste is transported to Asia, and most of it winds up in China. Workers who disassemble consumer electronics by hand are exposed to toxic substances, which also contaminate groundwater.

COLLEGIATE SPORTS EXAMPLE

The sustainability initiatives for the 2013 NCAA Final Four® in Atlanta included a community electronics recycling event at the Georgia Dome as well as a clothing donation drive, recycling infrastructure at all event venues, repurposing all Final Four banners to create event memorabilia, obtaining paper and plastic materials made with post-consumer recycled content, and reusing or recycling the Final Four® basketball courts. Learn more by reading the NCAA feature in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NRDC: What To Do About E-Waste

Green Sports Alliance E-Waste Collection Playbook

AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)

AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual

e-Stewards

Basel Action Network

EPA – Hazardous Waste

OSHA – Hazardous Waste