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The Solution of an Collective Effort at Recycling

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One of a solution against the e-waste abandoned in warehouse landfills or shipped overseas can be to promote the collective recycling initiative. In fact some firm starts that kind of initiative but just with their own devices. The U.S. government could encourage the bigger distributors to create a program of device return and electronics recycling process. These companies could take example on the Consumer Electronics Association, and the CEA-led program which has a goal of collectively recycling more than 1 billion pounds of e-scrap annually by 2016, using exclusively third-party certified electronics recycling companies.

But equally important let know the American household how the electronics recycling is important and easy to do. That can be by advertising slogan about the CRT Recycling or the IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) or about the real hazard must represent the e-waste landfills for the environmental. That could be a big start for the electronics recycling.

La Crise des Tubes Cathodiques

Me revoila, mais cette fois-ci je vous ecris en francais et ce a propos de la crise grandissante des tubes cathodiques.

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Pourquoi parle-t-on de crise des tubes cathodiques? Les moniteurs a tube cathodique sont l’ancienne generation de television et ecran d’ordinnateur, et sont donc consideres comme des dechets electroniques qui peuvent etre recycle (Electronics Recycling) lorsqu’ils sont en fin de vie, ou reutilise s’ils sont encore en etat de marche (IT Asset Disposition). Avec l’apparition de la generation d’ecrans plats,  plasma, LCD et LED, les consommateurs abandonnent les moniteurs a tube cathodique contre cette generation d’ecran plat. Ainsi, on peut voir apparaitre des decharges entieres, legales comme illegales, de moniteurs a tubes cathodiques. En effet, le procede de recyclage des tubes cathodiques (CRT Recycling) est long et couteux et certains recycleur preferent tout simplement abandonner les moniteurs a tubes cathodiques.

Mais le probleme est que ces tubes cathodiques contiennent des substances reglemente et/ou potentiellement dangereuses, pouvant etre toxiques, comme par exemple le verre plombe des moniteurs a tubes cathodiques (CRT Glass). Il y a donc une necessite de recycler ces dechets electroniques. C’est une necessite en terme d’environnement mais c’est aussi une source potentielle d’emplois. Attention tout de meme, ce sont des emplois dangereux compte tenu de la nature du travail. Ces emplois, en matiere de recyclage de dechets d’equipements electriques et electroniques (WEEE), sont reglementes par des conventions internationales ainsi que des reglementations nationales. Mais certains pays n’hesitent pas, et surtout les Etats-Unis et les pays d’Europe, a envoyer les dechets dans les pays pauvres qui n’ont pas les memes reglementations en la matiere. En effet, certains importateurs, principalement en Asie et en Afrique, acceptent tout les ecrans, qu’ils soient en etat de marche ou pas, ils recuperent le cuivre et jette le verre du tube cathodique (CRT Glass) contenant du plomb dans les rivieres.

Pour finir, la crise des tubes cathodiques a donc un impacte considerable sur l’environnement mondiale, mais aussi sur le niveau sanitaire des pays pauvres et ce malgre les conventions internationales tentant de lutter contre les mauvais recycleurs, tel que la Basel Convention.

The Importance of the WEEE Regulations in EU

Hello, to introduce myself i am a french student in law environmental and i am on vacation in California where i have had some contact with companies and associations specialized in the electronics recycling.

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In this post, I’m going to talk about the WEEE Directive. Whatever been a bottle, a mobile home or a printer cartridge they all need to be collected and recycled. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) set collection, recycling and recovery targets for all type of electrical goods. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment are a category of device, consisting of equipment at end-of-life. The symbol adopted by the European Council to represent waste electrical and electronic equipment comprised a crossed out wheelie bin with or without a single black line underneath the symbol. The black line indicates that goods have been placed on the market after 2005, when the Directive came into force. Goods without the black line were manufactured between 2002 and 2005. In such instances, these are treated as “historic weee” and falls outside re-imbursement via producer compliance schemes. But what kind of measure has been taken?

The WEE Directive imposes the responsibility for the disposal of e-waste on the manufacturers or distributors of such equipment. Indeed these firms have some facilities to establish an IT asset recovery like anyone. And that is the beginning of electronics recycling. If all the distributors establish a program of device return, all the process of recycling is improved.  And I mean the e-waste recycling but we can talk about the IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) too. The ITAD is important as well the e-waste recycling is. More specifically, value can be recovered in the ITAD process through the reuse, resale, or recycling of IT equipment. Is the WEEE Directive is effective on distributors?

Well we have some sentence against company who try to make some e-waste export but not really against the company who doesn’t respect the terms of the WEEE Directive about e-waste asset recovery even if sanctions exist.  But it seems that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take seriously this issue.

An Interview with an E-waste Recycler – Regulations, CRT Recycling, & More

The following is an interview between a Public Health student and a member of a California electronics recycling company:

Interview with an E-waste Recycler

What is the typical electronics recycling process?

Every electronics recycler has a unique way of doing things, but the general process is as follows:

  • E-waste is aggregated by a collector and sent to a recycler for end-of-life processing
  • E-waste is shredded into optimal sized pieces (about the size of a poker ship)
  • E-waste is segregated into different commodity types using a variety of different separation technologies.
  • The various commodities (plastic, steel, aluminum, glass, precious metals, etc) are accumulated and sold to manufactures to be made into new products.

Public e-waste collection events and fundraisers are very common these days. How do these work? What type of a collaboration is involved and how do the parties benefit?

Public e-waste collection events can be a very effective way to accumulate e-waste which can be resold as working electronics or sold as scrap to a downstream electronics recycler. Companies in CA that collect e-waste through public recycling events generally accept most kinds of electronic waste at no charge. This is a much needed service for the public, and it is a primary source of revenue for e-waste collectors.

Collectors can be for-profit or non-profit organizations. Public e-waste collection events tend to be more successful when people perceive that their electronics are being donated or recycled to benefit a charity or cause, so it is not uncommon for for-profit collectors to partner up with a non-profit or donate proceeds to the community or some other noble cause. Non-profit collectors usually use e-waste collection and recycling to create employment opportunities for their constituents, who may be veterans, developmentally disable people, or victims of poverty or abuse depending on the organization. Revenues generated from e-waste collection/recycling can also go towards funding other programs within the non-profit.

Collectors often separate the newer, more valuable electronics to be reused or harvested for components, and the rest is sent to a recycler for scrap value. Electronic devices and components that can be reused are much more valuable when sold into secondary markets.

What are the rules and regulations surrounding the e-waste business?

Each state has different laws, programs, and agencies that affect the management of electronic waste. All states are subject to the EPA’s hazardous waste laws which dictate how wastes are classified and how each classification of waste much be handled and disposed of. However, many states have developed more strict guidelines for the classification and management of the various waste types that supersede federal legislation. Some types of e-waste are considered “Hazardous Waste” and some are considered “Universal Waste” and each state is unique in how they must be treated.

About half of the states have developed and implemented formal electronics recycling programs, and all of them except CA are based on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR. EPR rests on the theory that manufacturers should be responsible for recycling or disposing of their products once they have reached the end of their useful lives. The rationale behind EPR is that because the manufacturers profit by producing and selling the electronic devices, they should also be responsible for recycling them. One of the benefits of this concept is that, because manufacturers must bear the cost of recycling their products, there is incentive to make them easier to recycle. EPR legislation is the preferred model for a recycling program because it is relatively easy to implement, and it relies on the effectiveness of the private sector (ie the manufacturers) to fund the collection and recycling of e-waste rather than a government bureaucracy.

In the CA state electronics recycling program, which is unique from any other state, the financial burden of recycling electronics falls on the consumer. CA consumers pay a special tax when they purchase new electronic devices. This tax money goes into a fund reserved to reimburse participating recyclers that process electronics collected in the state of CA. The CA state recycling program collects the highest volume of e-waste out of any other state program, but critics of the program argue that the personnel and paperwork required to manage this type program are exorbitant.

What are some rules and regulations that benefit recyclers? Do any regulations harm recyclers? What would like to see happening in the future?

State recycling programs that mandate the recycling of e-waste, whether they are funded by manufacturers or consumers, are beneficial to the environment and its inhabitants. The resources required to extract raw materials from the earth far outweigh the cost of reclaiming them from used products. However, there are many aspects of current e-waste legislation that have hindered the progress of the recycling industry rather than encouraged it.

A prime example of this is the CRT regulations in CA. CRTs or cathode ray tubes (outdated bulky glass televisions and monitors) represent roughly 70% of the current e-waste stream by volume and they contain leaded glass, which is considered a hazardous material. The CA Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has determined that the glass recovered from recycled CRTs can only be 1) used to make new CRTs, or 2) smelted to extract the lead. Neither of these recycling solutions is cost-effective, and the markets for smelting leaded glass and manufacturing new CRTs are shrinking rapidly. In response to the dwindling downstream for recycled CRT glass, the DTSC has temporarily allowed for the disposal of CRT glass in landfills, a decision that has outraged environmentalists, recycling companies, and other stakeholders alike. Some recycling companies have developed innovative methods for recycling CRT glass that would allow it to be treated and transformed into products like fiber glass or concrete. Unfortunately, the DTSC has denied these solutions as acceptable based on the flawed argument that the resulting products could potentially leach lead into the environment, despite scientific proof that they are completely safe. CA is the only state that has taken this strict approach to regulating CRT glass and it has resulted in massive stockpiles of CRT glass across the state.

Many stakeholders, especially the recyclers that have invested millions of dollars into developing these solutions, would like the DTSC reinstate the landfill ban on CRT glass, and assume a more receptive stance regarding new CRT recycling options.

A separate and arguably more pressing issue is the topic of e-waste exportation. It is illegal to export CRTs, but the exportation of most other types of e-waste is not regulated. Unfortunately, exportation can be very detrimental to the regions it ends up, especially in places that lack sufficient labor and environmental protection laws. When e-waste is recycled in developing nations, the workers and the environment can be severely contaminated. Environmental agencies, as well as recyclers in the US that have invested in developing sustainable, domestic recycling operations would like to see a nationwide ban on the exportation of all types of e-waste.

What do you see as a solution to the e-waste problem and is your company doing anything to contribute to the cause?

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world and will continue to be so as long as the proliferation of consumer electronics continues. There are two parts to the e-waste solution. The first part is to tackle the problem at the source by encouraging manufacturers to design electronics that have longer lifecycles and can be recycled with ease. The second part of the solution is to further cultivate the electronics recycling industry. This involves everything from public outreach and education about the importance of e-waste recycling to creating a legislative and regulatory landscape that incentivizes responsible recycling, rather than exportation or landfilling.

My company is dedicated to developing sustainable and responsible electronics recycling solutions which divert e-waste from being exported or dumped in landfills.

Responsible Electronics Recycling Is More Important Than Ever

With the holiday season in our rear view, a major concern is what we do with our old gadgets that have been replaced by new ones. These days, the majority of our personal belongings are electronic devices — things like cell phones, tablets, video games, and televisions. Most people know that electronics shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, but do you know why?

There are several reasons, but the primary issues are 1) electronics can leach hazardous contaminants into the environment such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants; and 2) most electronic devices contain valuable resources that can be refined and reused to make new products, such as steel, aluminum, plastics, and various precious metals. The cost of extracting new resources from the earth far outweighs the cost of recovering them from our spent products.

Electronic waste is now one of the fastest-growing waste streams in world, and this is a trend that will only exacerbate as time goes on. So what’s the solution? If we as a culture are going to consume and replace electronics at such an astonishing rate, the least we can do is take measures to ensure that they are being recycled properly to alleviate the toll we’re taking on the environment. Electronics recycling is the most effective way for consumers  to do their part. We can’t necessarily control the progress of the electronics industry but we can take responsibly for our e-waste.

Find an electronics recycler that you can trust that is refining these devices into reusable commodities domestically. Don’t assume that every electronics collector is recycling your devices responsibly. Do your homework and use a certified recycler.

IT Asset Recovery Should Focus on Data Security and Brand Protection

IT asset recovery is the process of maximizing the value of unused or end of life IT assets through effective reuse, resale, or recycling. I know I just dropped a lot of “re” words, but it’s the truth. IT assets represent a major investment for most companies, and with an increasing rate of product obsolescence (meaning that electronics now become obsolete very quickly) due to rapid advancements in technology, many IT assets can be resold into secondary markets after they have been phased out.

But IT asset recovery is a little more complicated than that. Most organizations have very specific IT asset management requirements. They can’t just be resold right away. After an IT asset has been selected for retirement, you need to record the serial number and remove the asset tag. More importantly, you also need to destroy or erase the hard drive so that sensitive information does not leak out into the public. In addition to removing company data, you also may need to invest in IT refurbishment so that the device works properly and can be resold at a decent price.

And then, of course, some IT assets are too damaged or too old to be re-purposed. These devices are destined for electronics recycling, a process in which they are shredded and separated into various commodious that are then used to create new products.

The most important thing to note in all of this is that data security and brand protection should be the primary objective. Value maximization is important, but a data breach or legal sanctions due to illegal disposal of electronics can be a much bigger problem. Do your company a favor and do your homework before you hire a company to liquidate your IT assets. Make sure that data security is a priority for your vendors and make sure that they are using a domestic electronics recycler as a downstream for material that cannot be remarketed.

Cool Info-Graphic about Plastic Recycling

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Source: http://www.onlineeducation.net/2012/12/17/fantastic-plastic