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How Sports Can Help Rein in E-Waste

January 3, 2014

Electronic devices help the sports world whir. Whether we watch games on television or follow our favorite players’ twitter feed, we use electronic devices to see what’s happening. What we don’t see, or think about, is where all our electronics end up.

The EPA estimates that the US creates 2.37 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) per year. Almost 80% of electronic items end up in landfills. Even when collected for recycling, much of this waste gets shipped overseas – out of site and out of mind – where it is handled in unsafe and ecologically damaging ways.

Sports venues can be major players in the solution to the e-waste problem. Sports facilities and teams offer great forums for e-waste collection drives. As the Green Sports Alliance says in its E-Waste Playbook, a collection drive, “offers a useful service to communities, prevents hazardous materials from being improperly disposed of, and provides an opportunity to engage with sponsors and fans in a meaningful way.”

A few college and professional teams have run multiple successful e-waste events. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for example, hosts an annual one-day event in the middle of January at the Thomas & Mack Center. Last year, the event collected about 65 tons of electronics.

Sports teams large and small – from pros to Little League – can join in the action and make a positive difference in the way our e-waste is recycled. But where to start?

In support of the Green Sports Alliance, PPRC recently helped compile a comprehensive E-Waste Directory of resources that can help your team or venue host a successful collection drive. The directory lists e-Steward certified recyclers and haulers in all 50 states. Also, the directory lists local government contacts that can help you deal with red tape or take advantage of money-saving incentives.

The Directory is also searchable by professional sport (and surrounding metro areas):

For assistance in contacting the right state agency department, feel free to ask us for advice. For more info about our Greening Sports projects, see our Greening Sports webpage.

 

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– Cyrus Philbrick

Communications Manager

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