Mission

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

SEI is part of the Sponsored Research Program at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). ISTC is a Division of the Prairie Research Institute on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. SEI compiles and distributes information on the environmental and social aspects of electronics throughout their product life cycles, as well as how electronics contribute to sustainability goals in general. It strives not only to raise awareness, but to facilitate adoption of operations and behaviors in line with the concept of sustainable electronics among businesses, organizations, and individuals. SEI also works to integrate principles of sustainability into the curricula and educational experiences of engineers, industrial designers, computer scientists and others involved in the design, manufacture, consumption, and end-of-life management of electronic products. With its location on the UIUC campus, SEI is well positioned to work with the academic community to address electronic product life cycle issues and sustainability, as well as to involve students in such considerations via internships and research projects.

Key activities related to this mission include the past International Sustainable Electronics Competition (www.ewaste.illinois.edu); the coordination of a University of Illinois campus consortium of people interested in sustainable electronics operations; education and research, integration of sustainable electronics into new and existing University of Illinois courses; and technical assistance related to sustainable electronics issues provided to ISTC clients.

For additional information on SEI, including educational opportunities, resources for educators, or collaboration on research or student engagement projects, please contact Joy Scrogum.

Historical note

Established in 2009, SEI was originally conceived as a consortium with members including representatives of academia, non-profit organizations, government agencies, manufacturers, designers, refurbishers and recyclers. Specific elements envisioned for the SEI included programs for research, education, data management and technical assistance. The original purpose of SEI was to conduct collaborative research; facilitate networking and information exchange among participants; promote technology diffusion via demonstration projects; and provide forums for the discussion of policy and legislation. For more information on the original concepts behind SEI, see Strategies for Improving the Sustainability of E-Waste Management Systems, prepared by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.