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Sustainaibilty and Innovation at CES 2018


CES is the world's gathering place for innovators and breakthrough technologies. The show also is a breed- ing ground for sustainable technologies, products and conversations, as seen at this year's "Sustainability Day."

At CES 2018, CTA partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and industry members for a day of environmental-focused events. Highlights included a press conference announcing both the winners of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge and the Eureka Park Climate Change Innovators contest, as well as the results from an RIT study examining materials trends in consumer electronics. 

The EPA presented the Tier Awards, which recognize companies for meeting specific requirements under each designation as well as ensuring the responsible management and recycling of electronics through the use of third-party certified recyclers. 

The EPA also awarded its Champion Awards in the categories of Product, Non-Product and Cutting Edge, which recognize companies for leadership and innovative processes and products focused on improving its environmental impact. The Product Award went to LG for eliminating hazardous materials used in its OLED TVs and for lessening their overall materials impact. Staples’ “Make More Happen” initiative to raise consumer awareness about recycling earned the Non-Product Award. For its Galaxy Upcycle program, which upgrades old.

Galaxy smartphones into new products, Samsung received the Cutting Edge Award. Honorable mentions were awarded to Best Buy Co., Inc. in the Product category and Dell Inc. in the Cutting Edge category. 

CES Climate Change Innovators Awards 

For the first time at  CES, CTA held a contest to recognize companies with innovations that could significantly reduce carbon emissions. The CES Eureka Park Climate Change Innovators awards highlighted startups for cutting-edge solutions to help better protect the environment. The winners were: Conservation Labs, K&A Wireless, Lightyear, Qarnot Computing, Sharpell Technologies and Wavelite. From a solar-powered car to pollution monitoring systems, each honoree demonstrated technology’s unique ability to combat climate change. 

RIT also presented the results of its study Phase II: Sustainable Materials Management for the Evolving Consumer Technology Ecosystem. Phase I of RIT’s study found that although the number and type of consumer technology (CT) products sold has increased, the net material consumption has declined to levels not seen since the early 1990s. Using these findings, Phase II of the report created a modeling tool that can estimate near-term product sales, stock in U.S. households and potential future waste flows. The predictive tool was demonstrated for four CT product types: smartphones, drones, smart thermostats and fitness trackers. 

At CES 2018, panels discussed what policies and initiatives would create a path to greater sustainability. Experts from companies like Best Buy, Lutron Electronics and Samsung spoke about the need to foster a culture of responsibility. Panelists encouraged companies across the industry to implement greener goals, outside partnerships and a stronger sense of responsibility to combat  climate change. 

Sustainability at CES

CES works to reach sustainability goals every year through coordinated efforts with its contractor, Freeman. At CES 2017, more than 1.6 million square feet of carpet were reused and more than 23,000 square feet of paper and mesh banners were recycled. CTA’s booth donation program enables exhibitors to donate raw materials and furniture no longer needed after the show. In 2017, exhibitors collectively donated more than 285,000 pounds of materials to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Opportunity Village and more. 

Elliot Grimm

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