Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge

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About the SMM Electronics Challenge

On September 22, 2012, EPA launched the SMM Electronics Challenge. The Challenge encourages electronics manufacturers, brand owners and retailers to strive to send 100 percent of the used electronics they collect from the public, businesses and within their own organizations to third-party certified electronics refurbishers and recyclers. The Challenge’s goals are to:

  • Ensure responsible recycling through the use of third-party certified recyclers.
  • Increase transparency and accountability through public posting of electronics collection and recycling data.
  • Encourage outstanding performance through awards and recognition.

Who Can Join the Challenge?

The SMM Electronics Challenge is open to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), brand owners and retailers. By joining, businesses:

  • Demonstrate leadership by using third-party certified recyclers
  • Ensure responsible management of used electronics
  • Take advantage of EPA’s technical assistance and resources
  • Receive recognition for achievements

By striving to send 100 percent of used electronics collected to certified recyclers and refurbishers, Challenge participants are ensuring that the used electronics they collect will be responsibly managed by recyclers that maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health and the environment, ensure the safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used electronics.

Electronics Challenge participants are publicly recognized on EPA’s website as a registrant, new participant, or active participant. Awards are offered in two categories - tier and champion. Tier awards are given in recognition of achieving all the requirements under a gold, silver or bronze tier. Champion awards are given in three categories - Product, Non-Product and, new in 2016, Cutting Edge. For the purposes of the Champion awards, a product is an item that is manufactured, developed or refined for sale and is in the marketplace; a non-product is an internal or external plan, strategy or policy for an organization or a service, program or item that is intended for individual sale to a consumer. The Cutting Edge award recognizes participants for their new, game-changing ideas in electronics sustainability.

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How to Join the Challenge

To join the SMM Electronics Challenge:

  1. Determine eligibility. The SMM Electronics Challenge is currently open to OEMs, brand owners and retailers.
  2. Determine your commitment tier. OEMs, brand owners and retailers may join the SMM Electronics Challenge in one of its three tiers (bronze, silver, and gold). The levels reflect the need for flexibility and recognize that participant’s business models, organizational sizes and levels of leadership vary. See the “Tiers of Participation” document for more information.

    Participants may join at any level that best suits their organization’s experience and abilities–regardless of their baseline.
    Tier Commitment Level
    Bronze Entry-level status designed for organizations with no existing collection programs or with new programs.
    Silver Mid-level status designed for organizations with modest collection programs.
    Gold High-level designed for organizations with exemplary, well-developed collection programs.
  3. Sign up. Review the SMM Electronics Challenge Participant Agreement and contact us for further information.
  4. Assess it. Establish a baseline of collected electronics and the percent of those being sent to certified recyclers within six months of registration.
  5. Do it. Increase the number of electronics collected by hosting collection events and setting up collection sites. Strive to send 100 percent of your used electronics collected from all collection streams (e.g., consumer, warranty and return, business-to-business and internal equipment) to a recognized third-party certified recycler. Publicly report information on your collection program, including recycling data. Complete the additional bronze, silver, or gold tier requirements.
  6. Track it. Track your progress and submit annual data.
  7. Post it. Share your commitments and data on your organization’s website.
  8. Receive recognition. Receive public recognition on EPA’s website, and have the opportunity to earn awards.

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