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Furthering Industry Sustainability and Green Initiatives

Consumer Electronics and Being Green


We all have a stake in finding solutions for climate change and diminishing natural resources. Our global economy is also a global eco-system, and it's never been more important to share the responsibility of preserving our planet.

That's why the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is proud to highlight the CEA 2013 Sustainability Report illustrating the industry's progress in pushing green initiatives. The report also provides transparency on the consumer electronics industry's sustainability practices.

While the report illustrates creative strides toward the goal of sustainability, there is still much more to be done. Learn more about the industry's recycling and energy efficiency efforts and how you can get involved.

Below you can find numerous recent studies and initiatives on sustainability:
 

  • CEA, along with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) and InnoCentive announced a second CRT Challenge on April 1, 2013 to identify financially viable, environmentally-conscious proposals for using recycled cathode ray tube (CRT) glass.
    • Dr. Thomas Engelhardt was the winner of the CRT Challenge. His solution is to use the leaded CRT glass in the vitrification of nuclear waste. Vitrification is a mature technology that has been used for more than 40 years. It involves the melting of waste material with glass-forming additives so that the final glassy product immobilizes the waste material, trapping the lead and the other elements in the glass. The Environmental Protection Agency has declared vitrification to be the “best demonstrated available technology” for heavy metals and high-level radioactive waste. 
  • Sustainable Consumer Electronics Technology Demo- Albany, NY, June 12, 2013.


GreenerGadgets.org

CEA operates GreenerGadgets.org - an online resource for consumers that highlights the industry trend toward "greener gadgets" -- smaller, smarter, more energy efficient devices that can do more than ever before. Tech-savvy shoppers now have more eco-friendly options and this resource has valuable information about how to buy green electronics, use them efficiently and recycle them at the end of their useful life.

The site also features a powerful energy use calculator with the most up-to-date products and energy use figures to help consumers better understand their energy usage and a recycling locator tool. When it comes to end-of-life electronics many people are concerned with what happens after they drop off their products. The recycling locator database includes industry programs, which use strict standards, and third-party certified recyclers, so rest assured your device will be safely recycled!


STAFF CONTACTS

WALTER ALCORN
Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability
703-907-7765 
walcorn@CE.org

DOUG JOHNSON
Vice President, Technology Policy
703-907-7686
djohnson@CE.org

ALLISON SCHUMACHER
Sr. Manager, Environmental Policy and Sustainability
703-907-7631
aschumacher@CE.org

GREEN POLICIES AND INITIATIVES

 
  • September 12, 2014 The California Department of Toxic Substances Control issued a three-year Priority Product Work Plan for its Safer Consumer Products program.  DTSC identified seven product categories that the agency will evaluate to identify product-chemical combinations to be added to the Priority products list during the subsequent three years.  The categories include: beauty/personal care/hygiene; building products; cleaning products; fishing and angling equipment; clothing; household/office furniture/furnishings and office machinery (consumable products). CEA will monitor developments with the office machinery (consumable products) category, which includes consumable and refillable components of office machinery (i.e., printers, photocopiers, credit card terminals) such as printer inks, specialty paper and toner cartridges.
 
  • June 12, 2014 – CEA in conjunction with the California Chamber of Commerce and broad coalition of trade associations and companies filed comments on June 12 with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) regarding the agency’s pre-regulatory proposed amendments to Proposition 65. While supportive of Prop. 65 reform, industry is broadly opposed to OEHHA’s current proposal as it could potentially increase the rate of frivolous “shake down” lawsuits rather than make a significant improvement on this front. In addition to potentially exacerbating the Prop. 65 litigation climate, OEHHA’s proposal could also further increase consumer confusion, significantly decrease business certainty and increase compliance costs and defense costs for businesses of all sizes.
 
  • May 23, 2014 – CEA in conjunction with ITI again filed a request for a de minimis from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of EPA’s formaldehyde rulemaking, echoing similar comments filed by CEA in September 2013. EPA reopened the rulemaking in April 2014 to address inclusion of laminated composite wood products in the rule and related steps taken by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to amend its Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions From Composite Wood Products. CEA also filed the de minimis request with CARB.
 
  • May 9, 2014  – Vermont passed S. 239, a toxics bill that is focused on children’s products but saw a significant battle between industry, advocates and legislators on whether to include a much broader scope of consumer products.  CEA testified twice against the bill in conjunction with AHAM, AHRI and NEMA. Vermont S. 239 is a bellwether for the 2015 state legislative sessions – CEA expects to see significant legislative activity on toxic chemicals again in Vermont, as well as in Connecticut and Minnesota, among other states.
 
  • April 8, 2014 – CEA in conjunction with industry associations AHAM, AHRI, and NEMA filed a joint letter of opposition regarding toxics bill S. 239 due to the legislation’s broad scope and possible significant economic consequences to the CE industry. The bill has since been amended to reduce the scope from consumer products to children’s products, and excludes consumer electronics, similar to the Washington State program. Several members in legislature are opposed to the amendments and have stated they will introduce additional broader legislation to cover toxic chemicals in consumer products next session. S. 239 is expected to pass prior to the close of session on May 9.