Sustainable Electronics Initiative

Welcome to SEI

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, using, and managing electronic devices.

About SEI

Learn About iFixit’s Technical Writing Program at Awesymposium 2015

iFixit is a “global community of people helping each other repair things,” and its website (http://www.ifixit.com/) is described as the “free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” The company fosters sustainability by promoting and facilitating repair and reuse. I’ve written previously about a course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in which I incorporated the iFixit Technical Writing Program. SEI’s UIUC campus consortium has even hosted a webinar providing an overview of the iFixit Technical Writing Program and how it can be used with your students (check out the webinar recording if you missed it; note that for the first minute or so there’s only audio, no slides showing).

awesomeIf you’re interested in gaining hands-on experience with this technical writing program, there’s still time to sign up for their annual technical writing symposium, this year called “Awesymposium 2015.” (There are even Lego figures on the site, so everything must surely be awesome.) The symposium takes place May 21-23 at iFixit’s offices in San Luis Obispo, CA, and is free to attend (though you’ll have to get yourself there and arrange for your own accommodations). Participants will be walked through the technical writing program with hands-on repair guide writing workshops. You can register online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iq3x-36j-zn-KtYEM1TBKn6r9X4WSKD7W4awrZBTqvA/viewform.

If you’re not lucky enough to be able to make it to the California coast, you can still learn more about the program on the technical writing program web site, http://edu.ifixit.com/. In particular, check out the Student Roadmap and Instructional Videos. If you’re at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and have any questions about the program, or would like to talk about how the program could be integrated into your class or registered student organization, feel free to contact me.

ISTC Receives Gold Level Recognition from the State Electronics Challenge

SEIgold The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), the parent organization for the Sustainable Electronics Initative (SEI), has received Gold Level recognition from the State Electronics Challenge for activities in 2014. The State Electronics Challenge (SEC) is a free, voluntary program for non-federal public sector organizations (e.g. schools, local governments, universities, libraries, etc.) and non-profit organizations, which encourages responsible management of office equipment via more sustainable purchasing, reducing the impacts of devices during use, and managing obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way. Participants, or “partners” as they’re referred to in the program, can elect to focus efforts on one or more life cycle phases: purchasing, use, and end-of-life management. Guidance on addressing impacts in these life cycle phases is provided via the SEC web site, partners-only webinars, and direct assistance from SEC staff members. Partners are not required to perform any given activity, but if they wish to apply to the optional recognition program, there is a checklist of activities that must be completed to achieve different recognition levels.

Partners are eligible for recognition for their accomplishments as follows:

  • Gold recognition: completed General Requirements & all activities in 3 lifecycle phases
  • Silver recognition: completed General Requirements & completed all activities in 2 lifecycle phases
  • Bronze recognition: completed General Requirements & all activities in 1 lifecycle phase

ISTC was in fact the first organization in IL to become a SEC partner, back in 2011, but 2014 was the first year for which it sought recognition for its activities, after having developed a written policy for purchase, use, and disposal of its IT equipment as part of its internal sustainability committee’s efforts. Of SEC’s 150 current partners, only nine are from Illinois, and, of those, just two earned recognition at any level in 2014. See the complete list of 2014 Partner Award recipients on the SEC web site. As you can see from the picture included in this post, the recognition plaque is appropriately made out of recycled circuit boards.

One of the benefits of being an SEC partner is the receipt of an “environmental sustainability report” for the year, with a summary of the environmental benefits of your organization’s efforts, in easy to understand equivalencies. For example, in ISTC’s 2014 report, we can see that the reduction in energy use resulting from our purchasing, use, and reuse and recycling efforts was equivalent to the amount of electricity to power 25 homes/year. To see an example of the report partners receive, see ISTC’s full Environmental Sustainability Report from SEC for calendar year 2014.

If you wish to learn more about the State Electronics Challenge, don’t miss the upcoming free SEC webinar, “Introduction to the State Electronics Challenge” Tuesday, May 19, 2015 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT. You can register for the webinar online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4400751674919799810.

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Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Donate/Recycle Electronics

Find out where to recycle or donate your old electronics or find options near you at earth911.com.

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GLRPPR

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable

The SEI has partnered with the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) to create a sustainable future.