In a significant boost to the recycling of consumer electronics and batteries, ERI, the United States’ largest e-waste recycler, has recently received a nod from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a near $5 million grant. This grant aims to expand participation in recycling programs, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s journey towards a more sustainable future.

The proposed plan, named “Expanding Consumer Participation in Electronics Recycling Programs Utilizing Targeted Marketing Campaigns,” was rigorously evaluated by two of DOE’s offices – the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC). This evaluation process resulted in a formal recommendation for ERI to receive the grant, paving the way for negotiations.

This grant is aligned with the DOE’s overarching goal to augment the collection and recycling of end-of-life consumer electronics and standalone batteries, strategic components in establishing a renewable domestic source of battery-grade materials. The initiative comes at a critical juncture when the demand for raw materials, especially for batteries, is skyrocketing due to the exponential growth in electric vehicles (EVs) and stationary energy storage markets. Estimates suggest the lithium battery market could grow tenfold by 2030, emphasizing the urgency for sustainable, efficient recycling processes that could ensure a secure domestic materials supply chain.

John Shegerian, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of ERI, expressed gratitude towards the DOE for their endorsement and support, highlighting the company’s commitment to pioneering comprehensive outreach programs. These initiatives aim to motivate more Americans to participate in responsible electronics and battery recycling, harmonizing with the DOE’s objectives and contributing to a greener planet.

ERI’s strategy involves collaboration with a plethora of industry leaders and stakeholders, signaling a united front in the battle against electronic waste. Partners in this ambitious project include leading corporations like Best Buy, Staples, LG, and Samsung, alongside specialized entities such as the Circular Electronics Partnership and the National Center for Electronics Recycling. Such collaboration underscores the project’s significance and the collective drive to reshape consumer behavior towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly model.

Supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s target for EVs to constitute half of all vehicle sales by 2030, the emphasis on recycling used batteries plays a crucial role. Not only does it diminish the demand for newly mined materials, but it also enables domestic industries to produce at lower costs, fueling a more sustainable and economically viable battery supply chain.

ERI stands at the forefront of the electronic recycling industry, boasting the highest certifications for environmental and data security. It is a pioneer in carbon-neutral operations across its facilities and is renowned for its capability to process over a billion pounds of electronic waste annually. This recent grant recommendation not only shines a light on ERI’s exemplary endeavors in the e-waste sector but also sets a precedent for nationwide engagement in electronics recycling, showcasing a collective pathway towards sustainability.