ISRI to Offer Educational Opportunities at International Computer Refurbisher Summit 2013 (ICRS)

ISRI will again be sponsoring a short course as well as a session at this year’s ICRS to be held November 11-13, in New Orleans. Following is a preliminary outline of the ISRI program:

Benefits of R2/RIOS for Refurbishers
Course Description: This course will focus on the importance and value of certification to refurbishers. It will also present the revisions and updates to both the R2 and RIOS standards and what they mean to both those who have not yet obtained certification as well as those who will be transitioning their certification to the revised standards. R2:2013 now requires a certified EHS management system and RIOS continues to provide an integrated solution. Also included is the importance of managing your downstream – as well as perspectives from certified refurbishers.

Course Moderator: Rike Sandlin – HiTech Assets

Course Outline:

  • What’s new in R2?
    Instructor: Corey DehmeyAERC Recycling Solutions
  • RIOS – As the R2 certified EHS Management System
    Instructor: Rike Sandlin – HiTech Assets
  • Downstream Due Diligence
    Instructor: Bob McCarthy – Green Eye Partners
  • Managing Focus Materials
    Instructor: Jeanne Shackelford – JT Environmental Consulting
  • Certified Refurbishers Panel
    • Nancy Jo Craig – Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council (CACRC)
    • Pat Furr -  Computers for Classroom
    • Willie Cade – PC Rebuilders & Recyclers/PCRR
    • Q & A – Panel of instructors

ITAD Services and How to Make Sure You Don’t Lose Money
Description: This session will address the business opportunities in value-added services in the life cycle management of electronics equipment and how to market them – with a focus on data security, asset management, and logistics.

  • Recycling Services Opportunities – Dag Adamson (LifeSpan Technology Recycling)
  • Business & Marketing Challenges – Craig Boswell (HOBI International)

For more information about the conference, including registration, go to the website.

E-Scrap Conference 2013: That’s a Wrap

ISRI would like to thank everyone that stopped by our booth at the 11th Annual E-Scrap Conference – the largest yet! It was great to greet old friends and see new faces. We welcome all new ISRI members who signed up this week and look forward to working with you for years to come. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with questions or how you can take advantage of the many services ISRI offers. Feel free to email ISRI Director of Membership Tom Crane or call him at 202-662-8536.

We hope you all had a safe trip home, particularly those on the East Coast who faced significant travel delays.

ISRI would also like to thank those who helped sponsor Monday’s opening reception, which ISRI hosted: AERC Recycling Solutions; Electronic Recyclers International, Inc.; HiTech Assets, Inc.; MRP Company; Regency Technologies; and Wistron.

And finally, a special thanks to Resource Recycling for being such wonderful hosts and making this event possible. We look forward to seeing everyone next year in Orlando, October 22-23.

ISRI: Federal Export Ban Legislation Unnecessary for Maturing E-Scrap Industry

The 2013 E-Scrap Conference in Orlando concluded yesterday with a debate between ISRI’s Eric Harris and Neil Peters-Michaud of CAER over the legitimacy of HR 2791 (RERA), introduced in the House of Representatives recently by Congressman Gene Green of Texas.

Harris made a compelling case against the legislation arguing that the market conditions don’t support the need for such extreme trade restrictions.  He cited a March 2013 report on the export of UEPs by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the International Data Corporation survey, as well as a green paper issued by the United Nations University, which all discuss the significant positive changes in both U.S. and foreign practices involving electronics recycling and exports – including new recycling technologies, environmental, health and safety certification standards, new regulations and greater enforcement. The ITC found that only 5.1 percent of all used electronics products (UEPs) collected each year in the U.S. are currently at risk for improper recycling and disposal.  The U.S. market is recycling over 80 of all the UEPs being collected.  And the vast majority of exports are either shipped as commodity grade materials or tested fully functioning devices.

ISRI’s government relations department has been actively meeting with members of Congress over the issue, and according to Harris, “When [members of Congress] looked at the issue, they said, ‘What’s the problem?’” The bill is currently not on any legislative calendars.  In the unlikely event the bill were to pass, Harris made the case that it would violate a number of U.S. trade obligations by discriminating against developing countries and economies in transition and move the industry into hazardous waste management.  Peters-Michaud argued the potential regulations is necessary to put domestic processors on a level playing field with less sophisticated overseas processors.  Harris challenged the assertion asking, is this about protecting the environment or about protecting certain commercial interests?  Many are starting to suspect that it is the latter.

Register for ISRI’s Safety Webinar Understanding Lead Exposures and the Hazards to Your Employees and Company Today!

On Thursday, September 19th at 4:00 p.m. (eastern)  ISRI ‘s Live Learning Center will host an important webinar that will discuss the hazards of lead exposure and how to manage the risks it poses to your company and employees.  The webinar will feature ISRI’s director of safety, John Gilstrap.  Gilstrap will present an overview of the hazards of lead, some exposure control strategies and what the law actually requires in the management of lead exposures.  He will also discuss the increase in OSHA enforcement and the stunning fines it is assessing to companies that fail to test for hazards and/or fail to mitigate the hazards when they are found.  Lead exposure is a common hazard in virtually all corners of the recycling industry.  If your company uses cutting torches, handles automotive radiators, breaks cathode ray tubes, or performs any number of other common processing operations, there is a reasonable likelihood that your employees are over-exposed to lead.

This is one webinar that you won’t want to miss!  Register today by going to ISRI’s website ( www.isri.org/webinar ) and click on the blue “Register Now” button at the bottom of the page.  To register, you will need a user id and password.  If you do not know your log on credentials or would like more information about this webinar, please contact Jonathan Levy or Brannan Meyers at webinar@isri.org.

ISRI to State the Case Why RERA is Not the Solution

The 2013 E-Scrap Conference will close later today with Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry’s Eric Harris laying out the facts as to why the “Responsible Electronics Recycling Act” (RERA) is not the solution. Despite its misleading name, Harris will point to a body of evidence showing the legislation is quite the opposite of responsible.

H.R. 2791, introduced this summer by Rep. Gene  Green (TX-29) will negatively influence recycling efforts by undermining existing policies and initiatives, such as those proposed by the Obama Administration and the Interagency Task Force on Federal Electronics Stewardship, and will also violate  international trade laws by unilaterally and arbitrarily banning exports to certain countries.

“The recycling industry applauds the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) and Congressman Green for introducing legislation with the goal of advancing responsible electronics recycling, but like H.R. 2791’s predecessors, the bill is fatally flawed,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “This bill will do nothing to end irresponsible recycling, and further, will limit any opportunity to promote environmentally sound electronics recycling standards in other countries by perpetuating the outdated approach of identifying environmental risk based simply on geographic location rather than responsible operating practices.

“The determination of whether one can export UEPs to a given recycler or refurbisher should turn upon the basis of the receiving facilities’ qualifications to handle the material in an environmentally-sound and safe manner, not the arbitrary happenstance of whether the facility happens to be located in an OECD country, the EU or Lichtenstein.”

The recycling industry supports efforts that contribute to responsible recycling globally and job creation within the U.S.  The best way to accomplish this is through strict enforcement of current laws – domestic and international; restrictions (such as notification, recordkeeping and due diligence requirements) on the export of unprocessed, non-working UEPs to any country for the purpose of recycling, reuse or refurbishment; a ban on the export of UEPs for landfill or incineration for disposal; and the promotion of global trade in tested, working UEPs for reuse and commodity grade e-scrap for recycling by industrial consumers worldwide.

“We support shutting down bad actors that refuse to recycle responsibly, but we fundamentally disagree with the approach of H.R. 2971 and do not believe that onerous regulations based on misinformation, as clearly stated in the U.S. ITC report, will address the problem,” said Lane Epperson, president and co-founder of HiTech Assets, Inc., an IT asset disposition provider in Oklahoma City, OK, and Memphis, TN.

A March 2013 report on the export of UEPs by the U.S. International Trade Commission, as well as a recent green paper issued by the United Nations University, both discuss the significant positive changes in both U.S. and foreign practices involving electronics recycling and exports – including new recycling technologies, environmental, health and safety certification standards, and new regulations and greater enforcement – since the initial NGO anecdotes on the informal sector were released more than 10 years ago, and should have never been relied upon.

Unfortunately, H.R. 2791 does just that – it relies upon the false premise that up to 80 percent of UEPs collected in the U.S. are exported and dumped in non-OECD countries located outside the EU – a statistic unchanged and put forward by CAER and the Basel Action Network repeatedly before the earliest versions of H.R. 2791 were introduced back in 2009.  In contrast, the ITC found that only 5.1 percent of all UEPs collected each year in the U.S. are currently at risk for improper recycling and disposal.

“The legislation relies on an outdated, disproven model that fails to reflect the reality of the present or future global market,” said Joe Pickard, ISRI’s chief economist. “Moreover, supporters of this bill are trying to fabricate jobs out of a market that simply does not exist. In reality, H.R. 2791will actually reduce domestic competition and lead to job losses.  Even the ITC makes it clear throughout its recently completed report that the export of refurbished UEPs for reuse as well as for commodity materials from recycling plays a very positive role both for the U.S. and the importing countries.”

According to the report, “Assessment of Efforts to Restrict the Trade of Electronic Scrap on Electronic Scrap Recycling Industry Jobs and Exports,” by John Dunham and Associates, many smaller firms would be forced out of business and workers let go should H.R. 2791 pass. As the findings state, a ban “will crowd out small existing businesses and inhibit the entry of newer businesses.”

The session takes place from 1 – 2:30 p.m. in the National Ballrooms C-D.

The Changes Ahead in Certification

The opening plenary session Thursday morning, The Changes Ahead in Certification, explores what the future holds for the R2 and e-Stewards certification standards. R2 recently released R2:2013, which greatly increases the oversight and quality assurance tools critical to a voluntary certification program. With a more stringent, accountable program, R2:2013 can be put into practice anywhere in the world.

During the session, which takes place from 8:30 – 10 a.m. in National Ballrooms A-D, R2 Solutions’ John Lingelbach will discuss the changes and what else lies ahead. For a preview of what Lingelbach will talk about, check out his article in the July/August issue of Scrap magazine.

Consumer Electronics and Recycling Industries Announce the Winners of the Second Recycling CRT Glass Challenge

During a session yesterday at the E-Scrap Conference, the Consumer Electronics Association(CEA)®, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI)®, and InnoCentive, the pioneer in crowdsourcing and open innovation, announced the winners of the second “CRT Challenge” to develop compelling economic and environmentally preferable solutions for recycling old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and monitors. The winning solution proposed using recycled CRT glass as a component for vitrification of nuclear waste. Vitrification involves the melting of nuclear waste materials with glass-forming additives so that the final vitreous product incorporates the waste contaminants.

There are significant volumes of nuclear waste currently planned to be vitrified, especially in the U.S. Dr. Thomas Engelhardt, who is a senior executive advisor to a major international investment fund and holds a doctoral degree in physical chemistry, developed the proposal. His graduate and postgraduate studies at various international research facilities have focused on the characterization of molecular liquids with X-ray, neutron and EXAFS spectroscopy. Dr. Engelhardt will receive a $10,000 award for his CRT Challenge solution.

The runner-up proposed a two-step solution: (1) conducting an extensive literature review on manufacturing processes for using CRT-related waste glass, including cost analysis (raw materials transport) and the impact on the environment; and, (2) creating an approach for developing a property/composition model for using CRT glass waste forms to treat nuclear wastes, by making chemical durable borosilicate glasses geologically stable. Dr. Mariano Velez, a senior research engineer at Mo-Sci Corp., will receive $5,000 for the runner-up solution. Dr. Velez holds a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering and has conducted glass research for more than 30 years, focusing on glasses with very high chemical durability, glass-reinforced polymer composites, materials manufacturing, design and properties optimization, use of nanoparticles and nanofibers, and evaluation of recycled and waste materials.

“These award-winning ideas are the latest step in determining how to responsibly recycle billions of pounds of lead-heavy CRT glass as consumers switch from CRT electronics to liquid crystal, light-emitting diode (LED) and plasma displays,” said Walter Alcorn, CEA vice president for environmental affairs and industry sustainability. “We applaud the winners and thank everyone who participated. CEA will continue to work with government agencies, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to explore these and other emerging solutions throughout the industry.”

“The innovative solutions provided by the CRT Challenge present a great opportunity to expand and develop new markets for recycled CRT glass and help recyclers as the industry transitions from CRTs to newer display technologies,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “We applaud the winners and all those who participated, and thank CEA for their partnership in addressing this critical issue in the recycling industry.”

“It’s gratifying to see CEA and ISRI banding together to find more effective ways to recycle cathode ray tubes, some of the biggest offenders when it comes to the growing e-waste issue in America,” said Alpheus Bingham, Ph.D., founder and board member of InnoCentive. “The most recent CRT Challenge, as well as the winning responses, are a testament to the power of crowdsourcing solutions to difficult environmental problems. We look forward to following the progress of these proposed new approaches.”

CEA and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sponsored the first CRT Challenge in 2011, and it yielded three winners. Mario Rosato proposed a closed-loop process for separating lead from glass in a form with high market value for a variety of industries. Nulife Glass Processing Ltd. proposed a solution that utilizes an extremely energy efficient electrically heated furnace, uniquely designed to produce minimal emissions; and operates these furnaces in New York and the UK. The third winner was Robert Kirby, who submitted an idea for combining CRT glass with cement to create tile and bricks that are tested, labeled and sold specifically for applications where lead shielding is required, such as X-ray and fluoroscopy rooms.

CEA and ISRI will work with the winners of this year’s CRT Challenge to further understanding of these solutions among CRT stakeholders, with the goals of raising awareness, helping to create market demand for used CRT glass, and encouraging government consideration of these approaches.

ISRI Steps Up Safety Efforts in Light of Pending NIOSH Reports

ISRI’s electronics division leadership has agreed to step up ISRI’s safety efforts for facilities with potential high risk exposure for certain heavy metals such as lead.  The leadership has asked ISRI staff, Eric Harris, Director of Government and International Affairs and John Gilstrap, Director of Safety, to reach out to NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) while at E-Scrap to better understand a pending workplace health hazard evaluation (HHE) expected to be released from NIOSH in the coming months.

The pending HHE is based on a voluntary NIOSH inspection at an e-stewards certified facility that processes CRT glass.  Notwithstanding the HHE report, ISRI’s leadership is committed to ensuring that the industry has the proper awareness training and guidance to protect the health and safety of its workers.  Initial feedback from NIOSH supports the need to focus ISRI’s safety efforts on preventing initial exposures.  Moreover, when there is a reasonable possibility that workers may be exposed to such risks, electronics recyclers have an affirmative obligation to prove that their workers are not being exposed.

As part of ISRI’s “Safely or Not at All” policy, the electronics division is committed to preparing additional education and awareness training opportunities and further guidance to its members to identify and prevent risks and protect workers from such potential exposures.

ISRI’s Director of Safety, John Gilstrap, will be offering a webinar on lead exposures on September 19, 2013, at 4 p.m. EST.

Infographic: eScrap A World of Opportunity

Over the last decade, electronics recycling has grown into a more than $20 billion industry that employs more than 45,000 employees in the U.S., with still a great deal of potential for further growth. ISRI has released a new infographic that illustrates how far the industry has come and what the future could hold, showing where used electronics come from and where they go, including how more than 82 percent of electronics collected are recycled right here in the U.S. Feel free to download the infographic and share with your customers and others.

eScrap Infographic

Video: Congressional Update on Cell Phone Unlocking

In this short video from the E-Scrap Conference in Orlando, Kyle Wiens of iFixit discusses efforts in Congress to reverse the Library of Congress’ decision to make cell phone unlocking illegal. Legislation that makes cell phone unlocking legal, at least temporarily, has a promising future as it moves forward on this issue that is of high importance for ISRI members.

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