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Electronics Recycling

NERC was the first organization in the U.S. to tackle the issue of the end-of-life management of electronics. Our Advisory Members led us to this new area in 2000, when they told the Board that the primary obstacle to the development of the electronics recycling industry in the region was the lack of a consistent and predictable flow of materials. They felt that residential collection could play a key role in this. In response, the NERC Board developed and adopted a Used Electronics Recycling Market Development Policy Statement. NERC also sought and obtained funding to conduct the first national survey of government-operated electronics collection programs. Program Manager John Leigh and Executive Director Lynn Rubinstein were the key staff on this project. That study has become the basis of the work that Resource Recycling/E-cycling Magazines now do on an annual basis.

  • Electronics Recycling and Collection Guides

NERC wrote the first comprehensive guidance document for Setting up and Operating Electronics Recycling Programs. This document has been incorporated into many other similar local documents around the United States. Project funding: EPA.

NERC also authored the electronics collection curriculum and training document used by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).

  • Electronics Recycling Business Guides and Survey

Mary Ann Remolador and Lynn Rubinstein authored several guidance documents on behalf of the state of Nebraska for electronics recycling businesses.

Project Funding: Nebraska Recycling Organization

In addition, she conducted a comprehensive survey of existing electronics reuse and recycling businesses and wrote the first Used Electronics Market Study Survey Analysis. Project funding: EPA.

  • Electronics Stakeholder Activity 

Lynn Rubinstein represented electronics recycling market development interests on the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI), as well as serving on the national multi-stakeholder task force that developed EPEAT© (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool). 

  • Model Electronics Legislation

In 2005, NERC was approached by the Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference (CSG) to collaborate with them to develop model regional electronics legislation. This unique effort resulted in the publication of the model legislation in April 2006. Since then, the model legislation and versions based on it have been filed – and in some cases adopted – in a number of states around the region. Lynn Rubinstein was the NERC lead for this effort.

Other electronics projects, lead by Patricia Dillon and Lynn Rubinstein, include developing and launching the State Electronics Challenge in 2007, promoting the use of EPEAT© by large organizations, and posting web pages dedicated to electronics recycling, reuse, and green procurement

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

Promoting environmentally preferable purchasing is one of the cornerstones of NERC’s mission, and Ms. Remolador has been the lead staff person in this arena. NERC created and hosts the only national listserv dedicated to environmentally preferable purchasing: EPPnet. Currently, there are more than 470 subscribers. EPA provided funding for the development of EPPnet and its archive.

  • North American Green Purchasing Initiative

Represented by Ms. Remolador, NERC is a participant in the North American Green Purchasing Initiative (NAGPI). NAGPI was developed by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation - an international organization created by Canada, Mexico, and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation to complement the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). One of NAGPI’s goals is to increase green purchasing within the three member countries. The identified purchasing priorities are office products (paper and electronic equipment), custodial products, and clean energy.

  • Peer-to-Peer EPP Training

Another unique NERC effort was the development of peer-to-peer EPP training. Ms. Remolador worked with businesses in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to assist peers with implementing or expanding EPP programs. Project funding: USDA.

  • Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT©)

By working with large companies, educational institutions, and health care facilities, among others, Ms. Rubinstein and Ms. Dillon have been promoting and tracking the use of EPEAT© for the procurement of computers. An EPEAT© listserv has been created to support this effort. Currently, there are approximately 625 members on this list. A web page with resources dedicated to promoting the green procurement of computers has also been created. Project funding: EPA.

Launched in October 2007, the State Electronics Challenge (SEC) is a voluntary program that encourages state, regional, and local governments, including schools and other public entities to:

  • Purchase greener computer products.
  • Reduce the impacts of computer products during use.
  • Manage obsolete computers in an environmentally safe way.

Government agencies and organizations participate as "Partners" in the program. The SEC provides Partners with resources and technical assistance for improving electronics management practices, and offers annual recognition to Partners that have achieved specific goals. This project is managed by Ms. Rubinstein and Ms. Dillon. Project funding: EPA.