Recycling gets Earth Day boost

In the springtime, a young man’s fancy turns to recycling efforts for Earth Day. Among other things. Though electronics don’t have the lead and other dangerous chemicals any more, there’s still a strong push to keep them from adding to the mass of trash heaps.

That buildup is a major problem everywhere, particularly in poorer countries. I recently attended a presentation about the Philippines, which include a discussion of a trash mountain so large that there was an entire town of impoverished people living on it. The trash came from cruise ships and local communities, not electronics, but it served as a powerful reminder that simply moving trash out of sight doesn’t mean it degrades to nothing in a few weeks.

Last week, the Consumer Electronics Association marked Earth Day by announcing an initiative to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016. That’s a lot of trash; it would fill an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium. The goal represents a major shift. It would more than triple the volume recycled in 2010.

The eCycling Leadership Initiative seeks to improve consumer awareness of the more than 5,000 collection sites currently sponsored by industry and expand that number so it’s easy for everyone to drop off unwanted consumer products.

It’s not just the consumer industry that’s pushing recycling. IPC has long provided information that will help manufacturers recycle their unwanted materials, keeping them out of landfills.

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