Electronics recycling partnership saved Delaware more than $110,000

A partnership between the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) and Delaware’s Department of Technology & Information (DTI) with the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) in the national State Electronics Challenge has saved the State more than $110,000 in energy costs for 2017. Participation in the State Electronics Challenge was open to all state agencies with IT services managed by DTI, including DNREC.

The annual electronics challenge encourages state, tribal, regional and local governments to responsibly manage their offices more energy-efficiently by purchasing greener office equipment; by reducing the impacts of the products during use; and by managing obsolete electronics at the end-of-lifecycle in an environmentally safe way.

“Through DNREC’s partnership in the State Electronics Challenge Program we are supporting the state’s efforts at managing the lifecycle stewardship of electronic equipment,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The program provides tools to track progress, measure results and see environmental benefits. DNREC’s efforts also included sending most of our electronic equipment for reuse in Delaware schools, with the remainder going to a certified recycler.”

The collective action of Delaware’s state agencies participating in the State Electronics Challenge Delaware yielded a number of environmental benefits during 2017:

· Savings of more than 1 million kWh of energy, equivalent to powering 83 homes per year;

· Reducing 163,800 metric tons of carbon equivalents, equivalent to removing 34,630 cars from the road per year;

· Reduced toxic materials, including lead and mercury, by 5 pounds; and

· Prevention and diversion of 24,840 pounds of municipal solid waste, equivalent to waste generated by seven households per year.

DNREC and DTI chose electronics that meet the State’s IT and sustainability goals for purchasing and performance, using criteria based on Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool-registered products as a required or preferred standard in bids, contracts, and/or leases for IT equipment in calendar year 2017.

Officials said many state agencies practice responsible reuse of electronic devices and partner with the Delaware Center for Educational Technology’s Partners in Technology Program (Par-Tech) (http://www.dcet.k12.de.us/default.shtml) to distribute the devices to schools, where they are refurbished and serve a second life. The program provides a cost-effective alternative to new equipment purchases for those schools that need additional computer systems, officials noted.

Responsible reuse also reduces mining of raw materials and the carbon footprint of manufacturing. All electronic equipment that is not refurbished for schools is sent to a certified e-Stewards electronics recycler to ensure recycling best practices for toxic materials and high standards of environmental, health and safety protections.

For more information, including the full report on the states’ actions and benefits in the State Electronics Challenge, call (302) 739-9403.