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Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge: Recognition and Awards

Recognition is a key element of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program and the Electronics Challenge. EPA is providing public recognition and awards to SMM Electronics Challenge participants for their commitment to sustainable materials management and recycling electronics responsibly.

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Awards Description

Electronics Challenge Awards are offered in two categories: Tier and Champion. Tier Awards are given to those who complete the requirements under a Gold, Silver or Bronze Tier.

Champion awards are given in three categories: Product, Program, and Cutting-Edge. The Product Award recognizes innovative and sustainable products designed for sale in the marketplace. The Program Award recognizes participants that have employed an innovative plan, strategy, or policy to use materials in a more environmentally responsible way throughout the life cycle. The Cutting-Edge Award recognizes participants for a new, game-changing idea in electronics sustainability.

Apply for an Electronics Challenge Champion Award

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2019 Challenge Results and Award Winners

In 2018, the combined efforts of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge participants achieved notable environmental results. By rethinking business as usual and committing to innovative and responsible end-of-life electronics management, Electronics Challenge participants collectively:

  • Diverted 194,500 tons of end-of-life electronics from the landfill, 99.9% of which was sent to third-party certified recyclers, and;
  • Avoided the equivalent of more than 511,200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

This is equal to any one of the following:

  • Taking more than 98,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year;
  • Generating enough electricity for nearly 81,000 U.S. homes for one year; or
  • Replacing almost 18 million incandescent lamps with LEDs.

Environmental benefits calculated using the following tool:

    EPA is pleased to announce the 2019 Electronics Challenge Tier Award winners and Champion Award winners:

    Active Participants Tier Award
    Dell, Inc. Gold
    LG Electronics USA, Inc Gold
    Samsung Electronics Gold
    Sony Electronics Inc. Gold
    Sprint Gold
    Staples US Retail Gold
    TCL North America Gold
    Xerox Gold
    VIZIO, Inc. Gold
    Company Champion Award
    Dell, Inc. Product
    Samsung Electronics Cutting Edge

    Details on the 2019 Champion Award Winners

    Dell, Inc., Winner, Product Category

    This year’s Product Category Award goes to Dell for its closed loop process for recycling rare earth materials from hard disk drives (HDDs) from returned Dell enterprise equipment. The magnets are reformed for reuse in new hard-disk drives in Dell Latitude 5400 and 5500 notebooks. Through the creation of innovative partnerships with suppliers, Seagate and Teleplan (a storage device recycling/recovery specialist), Dell used ingenuity and teamwork to overcome challenges to develop the new closed-loop process to recover the rare earth magnets from recovered enterprise equipment.

    The pilot HDD magnets contained <5 percent closed loop content, but additional streams of recycled material were added from non-Dell sources. During the pilot, Dell diverted 660 pounds of magnet material from landfills to create 25,000 HDDs. The process is scalable to use over 8,000 pounds of magnet material to create over 300,000 closed-loop HDDs annually. Dell can adapt the same process to build drives for other drive models by reshaping the magnets or even in other magnet industries such as MRI machines or motors from electronic cars.

    Samsung Electronics, Winner, Cutting Edge

    Samsung is receiving the Cutting-Edge Award for developing an affordable, upcycled, smartphone-based diagnosis camera to improve eye health care equality in underserved populations. Currently piloted in another country, the camera extends the life of obsolete phones, uses 50 percent recycled content, and is designed for easy reuse or recovery. Samsung plans to continue to provide software updates to improve functionality that will allow the devices to have prolonged utility. The EYELIKE camera, underwent a rigorous “Eco-Design Process and Eco-rating System” which evaluated the environmental performance of the product throughout its lifecycle.

    Samsung partnered with a nongovernmental organzation with experience in providing eye care to underserved populations to develop the product and with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness to identify countries that would most benefit from the technology. During the pilot phase, Samsung piloted the camera in 38 community clinics and screened more than 10,000 eyes with the devices. The camera is equipped with a digital ophthalmoscope that is integrated with an artificial intelligence-based system for detecting blindness-causing eye diseases and that allows for the collection, analysis and visualization of patient information.

    There is potential for greater phone reuse if the program is expanded to other countries.

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