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

eScrap recycling news briefs


Closed Loop Refining + Recovery, a CRT recycler in Phoenix, Ariz., has announced plans to open a new CRT recycling facility in Columbus, Ohio.

The new plant was reported by Recycling Today in its July 2012 issue, the free digital version of which was released July 27. http://recyclingtoday.texterity.com/recyclingtoday/201207?sub_id=xGyT6NJhpEpp#pg18

The recycling magazine states the new 275,000-square foot facility will greatly expand CRT processing capabilities in the eastern U.S., and will be able to handle 3,000 tons of CRT glass each month.

From taking in 3,000 tons of CRT and flat panel monitors, the company will produce ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal, leaded glass cullet and unleaded glass cullet.

Company CEO David Cauchi said construction will be complete on the new facility by the end of summer 2012.

According to the company’s website, future expansion plans include the mid-western, north-eastern and south-eastern U.S. in addition to its original facility in Arizona.


The Massachusetts state senate has approved a draft extended producer responsibility law for electronics.

The proposed law was sent to the House Ways and Means committee after it was passed in the Senate July 26. The bill, SB2380, requires manufactures set up and fund electronics recycling programs in the New England state. Under the law, the costs for the program must be covered in the purchase price of the new electronics.

Products covered under the EPR law include consumer desktop and laptop computers and televisions. Mobile phones, peripherals, and other electronic devices are not covered in the law.

If approved in the House, the EPR law would be enforced after  Jan. 1, 2014.

To read the bill’s text, click Bill S02380(1). (.pdf download)


eScrap news roundup

Miami company launches electronics refurbishment venture


A Miami-based company, Ecofurbished, is the latest initiative to specifically form with the idea of addressing the electronic waste dilemma.

The venture will focus on refurbishing mobile phones, tablet computers and other electronic devices to certain specifications — including working with original equipment manufacturers — and then helping get them into the hands of consumers, businesses and government agencies that are looking for these sorts of devices. The organization also plans to donate items to charities, such as the Ernie Els Foundation, which addresses the learning challenges of autistic children.

“As school districts across the national attempt to modernize classrooms with new technologies, we are inadvertently widening the gap amount students whom do not have the personal resources or access to benefit from these advancements,” said Octavio Visiedo, former superintendent for the Miami Dade Public School system, in a statement. “By using Ecofurbished products, school districts will be able to increase the number of devices available for students at a cost-effective price, thereby helping to bridge the educational digital divide.”

Ecofurbished has opened a facility in partnership with GEEP Corp. (an R2-certified electronics recycler in Dallas) to handle the items that it can’t completely refurbish.


  R2 Solutions names two new members to board of directors


Boulder, CO USA (March 21, 2012) – R2 Solutions has named two new members to the nonprofit’s board of directors. Brenda Pulley, Vice President of Recycling Initiatives for the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful (“KAB”), and Clare Lindsay, formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, joined the board effective March 1.

The expansion of the board underscores R2 Solutions’ commitment to include a wide range of stakeholder perspectives on the board. The updated list of the R2 Solutions board of directors is available online.

“The expertise that Brenda and Clare bring to our board will be invaluable as we continue to address critical issues facing the electronics recycling industry,” said John Lingelbach, Executive Director of R2 Solutions.


Electronics Recycling News Roundup

Commission for Environmental Cooperation conducting assessment

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is conducting a training needs assessment for small and medium size electronics recycling and refurbishers. They are seeking to have this needs assessment filled out by the broadest number of electronics recyclers and refurbishers as possible. If they find that there is a great need for training in sound management for electronics management, they intend to develop the appropriate training.

Companies can view the introductory letter Cover_letter US and visit http://fs11.formsite.com/cecweb/form110/index.html

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. For more information, contact Karen K. Pollard, pollard.karen@epa.gov Electronics, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response


Domestic electronic scrap in Africa growing, Basel Convention reports

Source: Basel Convention  and AFP

International experts are warning countries in Africa to ancticipate managing a growing volume of domestically generated electronic scrap in the coming years.

“One study suggests Africa will generate more e-waste than Europe by 2017,” Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention on hazardous waste, told reporters for AFP March 15.

This increase in volume is being driven by several factors, the Basel Convention reports http://www.basel.int/Implementation/TechnicalAssistance/EWaste/EwasteAfricaProject/Publications/tabid/2553/Default.aspx, including increased availability of computers and greater demand for mobile phones.

“The use of EEE is still low in Africa compared to other countries in the world, but it is growing at a staggering pace. In the last decade for instance, the penetration rate of personal computers has increased by a factor of 10, while the number of mobile phone subscribers has increased by a factor of 100. The penetration rate2 signifies that due to the intense trade of used EEE, people have better access to lower priced EEE. From this perspective, the import and trade of used EEE is in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals as a means to foster the use of ICT for sustainable development,” according to the Basel Convention’s report, “Where are WEEE in Africa? Findings from the Basel Convention E-waste Africa Programme.”

Priority actions for reducing the environmental and health impacts of growing levels of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste), alongside promoting the sector’s potential for green jobs and economic development, were today agreed by representatives from 18 African states, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and academia.

The actions were agreed to at the Pan-African Forum on E-Waste, held last week at the Nairobi headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme.

New Zealand project uses recycled robot to promote electronics recycling

Source: http://www.e-cycle.co.nz/community/competition/

New Zealand’s RCN e-Cycle project has created a six-foot tall robot from recycled electronics to promote electronics recycling in the island nation.

“The robot is a practical demonstration of electronics recycling,” said RCN e-Cycle spokesperson Tania Pilkinton.   “Made entirely from e-Waste, we have turned outdated, obsolete and potentially toxic electronics into something unique and new. The robot represents what recycling electronics is really all about.”

The RCN e-Cycle project  is funded in part by New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment, with a large portion of the $1.1 million budget allocated to building awareness and a call to action nationwide.

The robot is part of a national campaign to raise awareness. It was built by Gwilym Griffith Jones of Staple Design in conjunction with May E Machine, in Wanaka.

“We wanted something that children could connect with and that would inspire them to think about responsible electronics recycling. After all, the children are our future,” said Pilkinton.

Children can enter competition to name the robot.

RCN e-Cycle has a network of 27 sites around New Zealand. Private computer recycling company RCN has partnered with the Community Recycling Network to handle the electronic scrap collected.