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Rule Aims to Reduce Federal E-Waste

e-wasteAll federal agencies will be banned from disposing electronics in landfills, according to a proposed rule by the US General Services Administration.

Under the new regulation, computers, phones and monitors will be offered for reuse by other agencies or donated to schools, state and local government offices, and nonprofits. Usable electronics can also be sold while unusable electronics will be recycled by third-party certified e-waste recyclers.

The federal government is the country’s largest consumer of electronics, according to a GSA blog post, and e-waste is the largest growing waste stream in the US.

The blog cites EPA estimates: more than 5 million tons of electronics are currently in storage; of those, 2.37 million tons are ready for end-of-life management, yet only 25 percent have been collected for recycling.

The GSA’s proposal is part of the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Electronic Stewardship, issued in 2011.

The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to a February report from Marketsandmarkets.

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