Author: Paul Ploumis12 Jun 2015 Last updated at 22:31:27 GMT
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld has presented the Federal Green Challenge award to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Western Laboratory for increasing its electronics recycling more than any other federal agency in 2014. Blumenfeld presented the national award at the DEA National Lab Directors Conference June 9 in San Francisco.
In 2014, the Western Lab recycled and donated more than 8,200 pounds of electronics, resulting in a nearly 10 percent increase over its baseline from the previous year, an increase greater than any of the more than 400 Federal Green Challenge participants nationwide, according to EPA. The team accomplished this by using a certified electronics recycler to collect and recycle electronic equipment with no useful life and donating operational lab instruments to colleges and universities. The lab also held e-waste collection events and recycling education activities to increase awareness among staff members.
“We applaud DEA’s waste reduction achievements and hope they inspire more organizations to keep electronics from ending up in landfills,” says Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Through their hard work, the staff at the Western Lab achieved amazing results—recycling and donating thousands of pounds of electronics in just one year.”
DEA Western Laboratory Director Bryan Henderson says, “Last year presented a unique opportunity for the Western Laboratory to participate in the electronic recycling program at an unprecedented level. Our environmental management team quickly recognized the challenges that the relocation of our laboratory would bring to our traditional recycling activities.”
He continues, “This challenge was utilized as an opportunity to make significant contributions to the recycling program as the team identified and streamlined the equipment necessary to complete our mission. Through dedicated teamwork with several DEA components we were able to exceed our goal and contribute in a positive manner to the Federal Green Challenge recycling program.”
Responsible electronics recycling can reduce the environmental and human health impacts from improper recycling, divert waste from landfills, help provide quality reusable and refurbished equipment to those who need them, reduce energy and water use, and prevent environmental harm associated with mining and processing of new materials, EPA says. Certified electronics recyclers must meet high environmental and safety standards by maximizing reuse and recycling, minimizing risks to human health and the environment, and ensuring safe management of materials by downstream handlers.
The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort under EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, encouraging federal offices to reduce their environmental impact. Agencies strive for annual improvements in waste, electronics, purchasing, water, energy and transportation, EPA says. In 2014, agencies diverted more than 390,000 tons of waste from landfills, saved nearly 80 million gallons of water, sent 450 tons of end of life electronics to certified recyclers, and saved U.S. taxpayers more than $24 million, according to EPA.