i3 - May/June 2016 - 36

Policy

BY ELLIOT GRIMM

G R E E N P O L I CY
SHOWING CONGRESS TECH'S
SUSTAINABILITY SUCCESS

Energy Efficiency and
e-Waste
Panelists agreed that when it
comes to buying new electronics, consumers are increasingly concerned with energy
efficiency and e-waste. One
36

MAY/JUNE 2016

way the consumer technology
industry has met concerns is
by creating cutting-edge technology with lighter, thinner,
less material-intensive products that dramatically decrease
our annual e-waste. In fact,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency, consumer electronics are now the
fastest declining portion of the
municipal waste stream, with
a nearly four percent decline
in waste generation over the
previous year.
The industry also has
been spearheading recycling
efforts across the country.
Samsung detailed how they
have reduced e-waste through
extensive take-back programs
that allow consumers to
recycle their old TVs, phones
and more. Among the entire
industry, 660 million pounds
of consumer electronics were
recycled in 2014 through the
e-Cycling Leadership Initiative
(ELI), an industry-led initiative. Also through the ELI,
consumers now have access to
more than 8,500 responsible
recycling locations.
The industry has also made
great strides in improving
energy efficiency. Recently,
Vizio led initiatives decreasing
energy reduction in TVs by 50
percent since 2011 and made
their products mercury-free
to reduce health risks for recycling plant handlers. Further, a
CTA study from 2013 showed
consumer electronics account
for just 12 percent of total U.S.
home electricity consump-

tion, a nine percent decrease
from 2010.
The discussion turned to
how the consumer tech industry is accomplishing all this
through self-initiated efforts,
but the government is doing
little to reward or incentivize
these trends toward greater
sustainability. The point was
stressed by Samsung's Head
of Corporate Environmental
and Regulatory Affairs, Mark
Newtown, who said, "We need
to create a holistic partnership
with companies and agencies
for a healthier environment
that drives the right behavior."
Panelists praised some
government-led programs
such as ENERGYSTAR, but
agreed on the need for a more
collaborative approach. "Vizio
meets EPEAT standards, but

Vizio led
initiatives
decreasing
energy reduction
in TVs by 50
percent since
2011 and made
their products
mercury-free
to reduce
health risks for
recycling plant
handlers.
does not participate in the
program because there's a cost
to it that we don't believe is
fair to pass onto consumers,"
stressed Caitlin Sanchez, counsel for Vizio.
For policymakers, the takeaway was clear. For the consumer tech industry to achieve
even greater sustainability
results, the public and private
sectors must have a consolidated effort to continue, not
hinder, the industry's already
impressive success.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

Morsa Images/Getty Images

A

recent meeting
on Capitol Hill
brought together
congressional
policymakers and the private
sector to discuss the latest
sustainability trends and practices in material management.
Organized by CTA, the briefing featured panelists from
Samsung, Vizio and Electronic
Recyclers International (ERI)
who offered unique perspectives on the industry's environmental efforts.
Overall, industry trends are
paving the way toward greater
sustainability. For example,
most photographs today are
taken with the touch of a
phone screen, removing the
need for disposable cameras
and film. The Internet of
Things (IoT) is an emerging
field that better uses home
management systems, reducing excess energy consumption. Thanks to streaming
services and devices, consumer
access to entertainment has
never been greater and is significantly reducing the amount
of materials and energy used.
Also, increased use of consumer technology for telecommuting and e-commerce has
lowered national greenhouse
gas emissions.


http://www.cta.tech/ecycle http://www.cta.tech/ecycle

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - May/June 2016

Contents
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i3 - May/June 2016 - Cover3
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