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

IL EPA Interactive Map Shows Electronics Recycling in Your Area & More

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has recently redesigned its web site. If you haven’t visited their site lately, be sure to check it out–it’s very clean, easy to navigate, and more intuitive, with information organized for different audiences (citizens, businesses, governments, and educators).

One of the new features of the site is an interactive “Services Locator” map, which allows users to search for services within a range of miles (5-100)  from their vicinity (you can enter either your zip code or the name of your city). One of the services for which you can search is the location of electronics collection/recycling sites in your area. So if you got a new gadget during the holidays and aren’t sure where you could take its predecessor for proper disposal, the IEPA map can help. If maps aren’t your style, there’s also a list of all registered residential e-waste collection sites provided, with contact information (since it’s always a good idea to double check on which items are currently accepted at a recycling center before making a trip).

In addition to electronics collection points, you can also find medication disposal locations, household hazardous waste collection sites, and vehicle emissions testing centers.

For more information on electronics recycling in IL, including the landfill ban, see the IEPA Electronic Waste Recycling program page.


New SEI Fact Sheet: Teaching Sustainability with Electronics

A new SEI fact sheet, Teaching Sustainability with Electronics presents the idea that electronic devices provide a means for making sustainability and systems thinking concepts less abstract and more relatable for students. Electronics have a variety of economic, environmental, and social impacts throughout their product lifecycles, and thus provide opportunities to consider the three pillars of sustainability as they relate to everyday objects. The fact sheet also points out that the number and breadth of issues surrounding electronics make sustainable electronics discussions relevant to a multitude of subjects, beyond industrial design, computer science, and engineering. Three examples of SEI education projects are also provided. This document is geared toward formal educators at both the K-12 and university levels, as well as nonformal and informal educators interested in education for sustainability. The goal is to inspire novel approaches to introducing sustainability to students. Educators who would like advice on how to use sustainable electronics concepts in their curricula or programs should email me.

This fact sheet is meant to be the first in a series that will illustrate how sustainable electronics issues relate to various fields of study and provide suggested activities and resources for educators. Look for subsequent fact sheets in the coming months.

Meanwhile, check out the video below from the 2014 Prairie Research Institute Lightning Symposium, in which I talk about electronics as the key to making the environmental and social impacts of technology immediately relevant and compelling, in the effort to foster sustainable mindsets and personal connections to issues on a global scale.

View Older Posts at the SEI Blog Archive