Frequent Questions about the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge
On September 22, 2012, EPA launched the SMM Electronics Challenge. The Challenge encourages electronics manufacturers, brand owners and retailers to strive to send 100 percent of the used electronics they collect from the public, businesses and within their own organizations to third-party certified electronics refurbishers and recyclers. The Challenge’s goals are to:
- Increase collection of electronic equipment for reuse and recycling using third-party certified recyclers;
- Promote data transparency and accountability through public posting of electronics collection and recycling data; and
- Reduce environmental impacts across the entire life cycle of electronic products.
On this page:
- What awards can SMM Electronics Challenge participants receive?
- What are the 2019 SMM Electronics Challenge results?
- What was the contribution of SMM Electronics Challenge participants to the national electronics recycling total in 2017 (the most recent national data)?
- Why should we reuse and recycle used electronics?
- Does EPA post the data for each participant in the SMM Electronics Challenge? What information does EPA publicly post?
- Does EPA plan to involve new OEMs, brand owners and retailers in the Challenge?
Please find information on the kinds of awards that the EPA SMM Electronics Challenge distributes on our Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge: Recognition and Awards page.
The results of the 2019 SMM Electronics Challenge can be found on the Recognition and Awards page.
What was the contribution of SMM Electronics Challenge participants to the national electronics recycling total in 2017 (the most recent national data)?
SMM Electronics Challenge participants contributed 27 percent of total U.S. electronics recycling by weight in 2017 (which is the most recent national data). The 2017 Challenge total was 275,745 tons collected, and the 2017 national total recycled was 1,020,000 tons.
An important part of the Sustainable Materials Management approach is reducing our consumption of raw materials by maximizing product lifespans and recycling materials from one product to another. If not properly managed, some of the materials in our electronics may pose a risk to human health and the environment. Electronic products are made from valuable resources and highly engineered materials, including metals, plastics and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture.
- One metric ton of circuit boards Exitcan contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the US.
- Recycling facilities can recover 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium for every one million cell phones (PDF)(4pp, 324K, About PDF).
Does EPA post the data for each participant in the SMM Electronics Challenge? What information does EPA publicly post?
EPA does not post individual participant’s baseline data or annual data on the EPA website. EPA will post aggregate data from all SMM Electronics Challenge participants on its website. However, participants commit to publicly post most baseline and annual data elements on their respective websites.
EPA welcomes additional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), brand owners and electronics retailers joining the Challenge. In 2019, one new member joined the Challenge: T-Mobile. We applaud the efforts by our current participants and look forward to continuing to work with them. If other OEMs, brand owners and retailers are interested in joining the Challenge, they should contact Janice Johnson (email@example.com, 703-308-7280).