Feds prepare for electronics recycling initiative

As the largest purchaser of IT goods and services in the world, the federal government is constantly replacing computer systems. This constant turnover means older software and hardware is often tossed aside, locked away or simply taking up space.

But starting Nov. 15, government workers will have a place to deposit that old equipment, as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive launch the eighth annual federal Electronics Recycling and Reuse Challenge.

On Nov. 10, EPA and OFEE will launch a Web site with more information about the program.

In a recent memorandum, federal environmental executive Edwin Pinero said the program will last from Nov. 15, 2005, through April 22, 2006, when selected agencies will receive recognition based on the quantity of electronics recycled or donated during that time.

When the government purchases new IT equipment, 'the previous generations of equipment are unused, tucked away in basements, closets and warehouses of federal facilities across the nation, with no plans for the future,' Pinero wrote. 'Much of this equipment can be either recycled or reused in the communities where we live and in the workplace.'

Last year, only the Bonneville Power Administration, an electricity power marketer within the Energy Department, earned recognition for its efforts. BPA established a formal 'e-cycling' program with an asset management strategy that involved assigning a unique tracking number to every device so it could be followed from the day it arrived to its final resting place in the waste stream.

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