Last summer, GSA along with the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the EPA announced the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship–a framework for responsible electronic design, purchasing, management and recycling that will promote the burgeoning electronics recycling market and jobs of the future here at home. Under this strategy, GSA will ensure that information technology purchasing contracts are awarded for products that comply with energy efficient or environmental performance standards, and we will ensure that all electronics used by federal agencies are reused and recycled properly. It is important that electronics are recycled and reused because they contain large quantities of rare, valuable, and hazardous materials.
Recently, I visited two certified e-waste recyclers that are growing rapidly, creating jobs, and promoting the responsible reuse and recycling of electronics. I toured Global Electric Electronic Processing’s (GEEP) facility in North Carolina and the national headquarters of CloudBlue in Norcross, Georgia. These companies are providing sophisticated re-use and recycling solutions for customers with e-cycling needs, and they are contributing to a strong domestic electronic recycling market. In the last two years, CloudBlue has created more than 250 jobs. CloudBlue has a zero landfill policy, and GEEP’s goal is to have no waste sent to landfills. Both companies are preventing pollution locally as well as abroad because they do not export these products.
GSA is responsible for procuring roughly $3 billion in information technology equipment annually, and the federal government as a whole purchases nearly $14 billion a year in information technology equipment. By some estimates, the federal government disposes of about 10,000 computers a week. Therefore, through the National Strategy on Electronic Stewardship, government can accelerate the development of an industry by leveraging our supply chain to support sustainable and recyclable electronics, while ensuring that these products find their way to e-waste recycling facilities in the disposal process.
Through GSA’s commitment to sustainability, we are making government work better for the American people. And as a result, we’ll be helping create jobs of the future, which will allow America to compete in a global economy.