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US government draws green line for vendors

United States – The US government – one of the world’€™s largest consumers of electronic devices – is ceasing business transactions with vendors who opt to landfill their end-of-life equipment. The decision was preceded by a similar regulation prohibiting any federal agency depending on federal funds to dump its electronic equipment.

From now on, government agencies are obliged to make use of their acquired electronics until they no longer function, and then they will enter the recycling chain. Additionally, procurement managers could opt to transfer older equipment to related agencies or public institutes, such as schools.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a change of approach is necessary as the federal government is currently disposing of up to 10 000 computers every week. In 2009, for example, a total of 2.37 million tons of electronics went for disposal while only a quarter was recycled, states a GAO report. The 140 000 contracts issued for new equipment in 2011 alone were valued at US$ 11 billion.

The US General Services Administration (GSA) has been collaborating with a White House office and the Environmental Protection Agency to create what is called the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, which seeks to ‘€˜lay the groundwork for improving the design of electronic products’€™ and to enhance the management of used or discarded electronics.

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