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Check out the JJC Sustainability and Environmental Justice Program Website and Blog!

 

John Jay College Switching to E-Steward Certified Vendor

Electronic waste from John Jay College is now being disposed of through Electronic Recycling International (ERI), a vendor that is both e-Steward and R2 certified.  We are the first CUNY College to use an e-steward vendor.   ERI is the official e-waste vendor for the City of NYC.

E-waste dump sites overseas are known as the most toxic places on earth.  A huge, undetermined amount of used electronics is shipped from the United States to developing countries that lack the capacity to reject non-useable imports or to dispose or recycle these materials appropriately. 

Recently, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology put 200 geolocating tracking devices inside old computers, TVs and printers and dropped them off at various recycliers and electronic take-back programs that advertise themselves as green and earth-friendly.  The tracked electronics ended up in Mexico, Taiwan, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Canada and Kenya.  Most often they traveled across the Pacific to rural Hong Kong.   Read the article.

Hazardous chemicals that are inside electronics include cadmium,  chromium, mercury,  lead and others.

Unsafe handling of used electronics and e-waste, in developing countries results in harm to human health and the environment.  Open-air burning and acid baths used to recover valuable materials from electronic components, expose workers (including children) to harmful substances. When these waste byproducts leach into ground water, are burned, or get mishandled during recycling, serious health problems can result including cancers, miscarriages, neurological damage to the lungs, liver, kidney and diminished IQs. Even the polyvinyl chloride plastic components give off harmful chemicals when burned.

 

Image from EPA

In 2009, EPA estimated that US consumers and businesses discarded televisions, computers, cell phones and hard copy peripherals (including printers, scanners, faxes) totaling 2.37 million tons. Approximately 25 percent of these electronics were collected for recycling, with the remainder disposed of primarily in landfills, where the precious metals cannot be recovered.

More about e-Stewards and R2 certification

Currently there are two electronic waste accredited certification standards: the Responsible Recycling Practices R2 and e-Stewards®. Both of these programs provide the following benefits:

  • Advance best management practices
  • Offer a way to assess the environmental, worker health, and security practices of entities managing used electronics
  • Are based on strong environmental standards that maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health or the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used electronics
  • Certified electronics recyclers have demonstrated through audits and other means that they continually meet specific high environmental standards and safely manage used electronics. Once certified, continual oversight by the independent accredited certifying body holds the recycler to the particular standard.

 

The e-Stewards criteria is much more stringent than R2.  It does not allow computers to be exported for recycling or repair.  It only allows verified functional computers to be exported.  Additional benefits and comparison with R2 requirements can be found at: 

http://www.electronicstakeback.com/wp-content/uploads/Chart_Comparing_R2_eStewards1.pdf


John Jay Energy Savings (from the Finance & Admin Newsletter - Sept 2015)

The Facilities Management staff has been hard at work to reduce energy consumption on the John Jay campus. While demands for energy from the technology sector continue to grow, and CUNY as a whole increased its energy consumption, John Jay College leads all CUNY campuses in energy savings - $900,000 in fiscal year 2014 and close to a $1.3 million savings in fiscal year 2015. For that two-year span, John Jay had the largest real energy reductions of any campus across CUNY as well as the greatest reduction in its utility bill. Funds saved through energy consumption reduction are being used to reduce the College’s budget shortfall. The energy saved is roughly the same amount that 1,000 New York City apartments use in a whole year. The reductions come from three main areas: 1) improved equipment maintenance, 2) scheduling building systems more closely with class and event scheduling, and 3) optimization of systems for lighting, heating and cooling the buildings.

None of this work happens without a lot of cooperation. The Theater Events Support Staff and the Office of the Registrar in particular deserve special credit for including energy efficiency into already complex planning efforts.

The things we can do as individuals on campus may seem small but they really add up and every little bit helps. Here are some examples:

  • Take a moment to consider what we use and when we use it. Understand that items with a heating or refrigeration element require a lot of electrical current.
  • Turn off and/or unplug items when not in use such as computers, monitors, lights, phone chargers, and personal printers.
  • Share appliances. Appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators and coffee machines are not encouraged in the workplace but if they are used at all it makes more sense for a department or multiple departments to share energy efficient appliances.

 

We all have much more work to do and look forward to the challenge.