US E-waste recycling highest ever but feds stay mum

There's a big push in the United States to prevent electronic devices from ending up in your typical landfill somewhere around the country, even though the federal government has offered no guidelines for recycling electronics. Much of this big push involves the launch of numerous electronics recycling programs all around the United States. Electronics recycling makes a lot of sense when you consider that many of the devices people throw away still work, they just don't want them anymore.

There are also some companies out there who recaptured the precious metals used in the construction of some electronic devices. Electronics recycling programs in the United States are growing significantly with recycling options for electronics available for consumers in all 50 states. Recently the Consumer Electronics Association published its second annual report on the eCycling Leadership Initiative.

The report notes that during 2012, consumer electronics companies working in the eCycling Leadership Initiative, which is an industry effort headed by the CEA, responsibly recycled 585,000,000 pounds of electronics. That is a huge number of recycled smartphones, computers, and other devices. It also represents a 27% increase in the amount of recycled electronics compared to 2011.

Back in 2011, 460,000,000 pounds of electronics were recycled. The numbers for 2012 look even better when compared to the amount of electronics recycled in 2010 when only 300,000,000 pounds were collected. The CEA also notes that by the end of 2012, 99% of the recycling handled by initiative participants was conducted via third-party certified recycling facilities. The electronics recycling initiative has a lofty goal of responsibly recycling 1,000,000,000 pounds of electronics annually by 2016. It's a good thing that the Consumer electronics Association and the participants in its initiative are taking the task of electronics recycling upon themselves, because there is still no federal recycling mandate for electronics.

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