GSA: Reuse, recycle electronics, and avoid landfills

The General Services Administration announced new guidelines March 1 that bans all federal agencies from disposing of electronic waste in landfills.

The guidelines direct agencies to reuse their electronics as much as possible first and then send electronics that don’t work to certified e-waste recyclers. Landfills and incinerators are not options.

For functioning computers and electronics that agencies don’t use anymore, asset managers now must offer them to schools or state and local governments. They can also sell them.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said the policy will help to protect human health and the environment, while supporting jobs in the e-waste industry.

“The federal government as a whole is the nation’s largest consumer of electronics, and through this policy it will now be a more responsible user of electronics,” Johnson said.

In October of 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13514 that set sustainability goals for agencies to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance. The order called for GSA, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency to create the National Strategy on Electronic Stewardship.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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