EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge

Executives from LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sprint, and Staples and Best Buy convened at a certified electronics recycling facility in Romeoville, IL. Lisa Feldt, deputy assistant administrator for EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, attended representing EPA.

The occasion was EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge. Apparently Dell, Sony and Nokia have also signed up. Also, if anyone’s keeping score, in the past, Dell, HP, Samsung, Apple, and Best Buy have been public supporters of a bill along these e-waste lines, in particular the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act.

Sustainable materials management itself is not a new concept, the buzz and energy around it perhaps is. Today’s event was essentially a signing party.

For readers interested in sustainable materials management software, Gartner Group, the renowned analyst firm, puts out annual reports around this subject. Oftentimes sustainability is lumped into GRC, or Governance, Risk and Compliance.

A Gartner paper called “Hype Cycle for Governance, Risk and Compliance Technologies, 2011” mentions that “safety and sustainability priorities, in addition to the ongoing legislation mandating compliance, put a spotlight on safety and environmental performance. Businesses are demanding standardization, simplification, transparency and speed.”

For software to manage the challenge, the Gartner report mentions companies such as Actio Corporation, EtQ, IHS, Medgate, ProcessMAP, PureSafety, SAP, and The Wercs.

By participating in the SMM Electronics Challenge, leaders in the electronics industry are committing to send all — that’s 100% — of the used electronics that they collect to third-party certified refurbishers and recyclers and to increase the amount of used electronics they collect.

Through this challenge, EPA is providing a transparent and measurable way for electronic companies to commit to safe and environmentally protective practices for the refurbishment and recycling of used electronics, and publicly show progress toward recycling goals.

For more on this initiative, see http://www.epa.gov/smm/.

*Attendees of note at signing ceremony in Illinois:
Lisa Feldt, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Laura Bishop, Best Buy Vice President for Government Relations
Y.K. Cho, LG Electronics Senior Vice President
Peter M. Fannon, Panasonic Vice President for Corporate and Government Affairs
Mike Moss, Samsung Director for Corporate Environmental Affairs
Jim Cole, Sharp Director of Technical Services and Support
Ralph Reid, Sprint Vice President of Corporate Responsibility
Bob Wolfe, Staples Regional Vice President for Chicago