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Award for Electronics Recycling at Brookhaven Lab

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory was named a winner in the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive's third annual Electronics Reuse and Recycling Campaign at a White House ceremony on December 16. The Laboratory reused or recycled 143,600 pounds of electronics during fiscal year (FY) 2008, a period from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008.

Clarence Wilkins (left) and Ben Mastrocola from Brookhaven Lab's Procurement and Property Management Division load a truck with used electronic equipment for recycling

The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive challenges federal agencies to donate and recycle excess or surplus electronics through the reuse/recycling program. Brookhaven Lab was among 18 winners selected from 14 agencies and 124 facilities for reusing or recycling the most electronics, competing against facilities of comparable size. A total of 9 million pounds of electronics were reused or recycled by all of the 124 facilities during FY 2008. The Department of Energy received the top honors for the third year in a row for reusing and recycling more that 2.2 million pounds of electronics from its 22 participating facilities, including Brookhaven Lab.

Peter Pohlot, Brookhaven Lab’s pollution prevention coordinator, and Donna King, the Lab’s property manager, who jointly managed the reusing and recycling program, received a plaque for Brookhaven Lab at the White House ceremony. The Laboratory was honored in the category of “Large Facility – over 2,500 employees.”

“We recycle all of the Laboratory’s electronic equipment in an environmentally sustainable way, including desktop and laptop computers, cameras, printers, scanners and network servers,” Pohlot said. “It’s important to reduce pollution and prevent toxic materials from entering into the environment.”

The Laboratory recycled 106,400 pounds and reused 37,200 pounds of electronic equipment in FY 2008. Recycled equipment is sent to UNICOR for processing. Established in 1934 by executive order, UNICOR is a federal program that creates voluntary real-world work to train federal prison inmates. The electronics are “de-manufactured” in an environmentally sound and safe manner by the inmates. Parts are resold to benefit the program, which is self-sustaining.

The majority of reused electronic equipment went to Lab employees for on-the-job use. Also, twelve of Brookhaven Lab’s used computers were donated to nonprofit schools in response to requests made to a “Computers for Learning” government-sponsored website. The average life span of a computer at Brookhaven Lab is 4 1/2 to 5 years.

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