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 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.

ISRI Course Focuses on Reuse Potential of UEPs

The course, ISRI Electronics Recycling Educational Program: How to Maximize Value in Reuse, is designed to help electronics recyclers exploit the reuse potential of used electronics equipment. Experts in reuse, refurbishment and resale will address a variety of opportunities to maximize value – including returns, repair, wireless devices, non-traditional equipment and components. Attendees will have the chance to learn from industry leaders who have built a profitable business in each of the key areas available to optimize the reuse market. This ISRI short course will include a handout book of all the presentations.

The program will take place, Tuesday, September 10, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm in the Celebration Room. Separate registration is required. The fee is $125 for ISRI members and $150 for non-ISRI members. Attendees will be issued a “Golden Ticket,” good for a free spin on the trivia wheel at the RIOSTM booth, #709, with the opportunity for valuable prizes.

For more information, contact Eric Harris or stop by booth #707.


Registration now open for ISRI’s 2013 convention and expo

Registration is now open for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ 2013 Convention and Expo.

Held in April, the ISRI event presents a unique networking and learning opportunity for electronics recyclers. Attended by thousands of people, the event draws together high-level recycling executives, innovators and other people on the front lines of the recycling industry.

Last year’s conference featured several workshops and discussions focused solely on electronics recycling, such as an examination of national Electronics Stewardship agendas, a discussion of exports of commodities, and the importance of certification in electronics recycling.

The conference last year also included an international summit which drew together high-ranking officials from foreign environmental ministers and the United Nations. Another valuable discussion, many attendees said, were workshops dealing with CRT handling and legislative efforts.

Because the convention is open to recycling of all commodities – metals, plastic, glass, etc. – it’s an opportunity for cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas. Vendors from around the world bring the latest recycling technologies and demonstrate new ideas and innovations, all geared toward developing safer, more efficient recycling methods and processes.

The convention is open to the general public; students with an interest in the recycling industry are also encouraged to consider attending.

This year’s convention will be held in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. For more information on the convention, visit www.isriconvention.org. The event runs from April 9-13, 2013.


Electronics recycling in Alaska begins emptying basements and attics

In mid September, the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska held a large, free community electronics recycling drive.

Public works director Kirk Duncan said residents streamed steadily through the dropoff site, bringing in electronics they’d had stockpiled for years and sometimes decades.

“We saw some stuff that I hadn’t seen in a long time,” Duncan told KTOO Public Radio 104.3. “Some original Apple computers, the one piece computers, then some huge TVs – just all kinds of different stuff.”

In all, the trial event collected 15 tons of material.

What results like this prove is something that electronics recyclers have known for a long time – American stockpile obsolete electronics because they don’t know what to do with them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in 2009, an estimated five million short tons of products were in storage, with CRTs (monitors & TVs) being stored at the highest rates.

These events target that crucial residential sector – consumers, according to the International Data Corporation, comprise most of the new electronics industry but only 25% of the electronics recycling industry.

We have a general idea that throwing out old electronics is a bad idea. Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement that such items don’t belong in landfills, or the mentality that many products, once so expensive, must retain some value when they reach the end of usefulness.  Still other people don’t know how to handle old electronics, which doesn’t fit in the trash can and won’t be picked up by sanitation workers if it’s left at the curb.

And so the old TV goes into the attic or the basement, where it sits for a while. Sometimes it’s joined by an old computer monitor or an old computer tower, and then, after a while, another TV set.

Finally, after a while, the average American household has developed a sort of private e-scrap stockpile, gathering dust and taking up space. While many retailers operate voluntary recycling drop-off programs, they often must charge for data removal or for CRTs. So, when a free government-sponsored collection is announced, it’s understandable why all of these electronics start coming out of the wood works.

For more on electronics recycling near you, please go to ISRI.org/certifyme or R2Solutions.org

Global electronics recycling market to reach $9.8 billion?

A new market report, ” E-Waste Recycling and Reuse Services Market – Global and China Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2010 – 2017″ published this week by Transparency Market Research predicts the global electronics reuse and recycling market will reach $9.8 billion in 2012 and could nearly double within five years.

While the full report is available for a fee, a summary is available HERE.

Clearing up the CRT rules

The proposed changes to rules governing the recycling of Cathode Ray Tubes were a topic of hot conversation in Las Vegas last month.

William Damico, a Region 5 EPA Enforcement Officer, spoke at the recent Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ annual Convention and Expo in Las Vegas, hoping to offer the EPA’s viewpoints on the rule and to clear up any confusion on what the government agency is trying to accomplish by revising its regulations.

The electronics recycling industry is currently operating under a CRT rule passed on July 28, 2006.

“There was a misconception that the rule brought the cathode ray and other monitor tube devices in the realm of regulation of hazordous waste,” Damico said. “Actually, they always were. We weren’t very active in enforcing those rules.”

The rule didn’t clearly address many of the realities of exporting CRTs for recycling, Damico said.. A revision by the EPA in 2011 hopes to clarify the government’s position on management of the materials and how the EPA plans to enforce the regulation.

“CRTs are a limited commodity, not going to be with us forever and it’s possible the market will disappear before amount of CRT disappears,” Mark Murray, Californians Against Waste. “It’s not just about CRTs, it’s about other hazardous materials we can use in this way.”

In order for others to utilize those recyclable items, it’s a must for recyclers to dismantle the product before shipping it out of the United States’ borders, Murray said. He noted his organization is supporting barring the trans-state shipping of non-dismantled CRTs for recycling.

“The recycler won’t get paid unless they’ve demonstrated they’ve dismantled the device or demonstrate sending to an approved dismantler.”

If that isn’t done, some recyclers may just hold on to those items for an infinite amount of time and, if enough stack up enough, they might be on the next episode of A&E’s “Hoarders.”

Leaded glass found in the CRTs must be included in the recycling loop, but the markets for the material are drying up. Prices have declined drastically in recent years, said David Cauchy of Closed Loop Recycling.

“It’s a significant change economically,” Cauchy said. “The market hasn’t adjusted to it, in my opinion. It’s a serious issue, when you talk about the tonnage that’s available and the technologies that are available to recycle it. It’s a serious issue in the e-waste industry.”

Cauchi said the CRTs need to be recycled as a whole and not just end up a fodder for a landfill.

“We feel there should be places where CRTs are processed in their entirety and make a profit at that facility so it could compete with landfills,” he said.

EPA’s proposal to impose additional notification requirements on exporters handling used, intact CRTs intended for re-use raises jurisdictional issues, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.  Despite RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) jurisdiction being limited to materials that have been “discarded,” the proposal intends to expand EPA’s reach to also cover used, functioning CRTs exported for reuse.  The rationale is based on the grounds that the export of such used products might actually be intended for some purpose other than re-use and therefore raising a concern that the CRT’s might be improperly discarded at a future date and place.  This assertion is contrary to US law as RCRA’s jurisdiction does not extend to reusable CRTs, especially functional units, ISRI says.