Fans of allowing the market decide the fate of electronics recycling were probably pleased with the lack of legislative activity addressing the issue in 2003.
A review of electronics recycling-related government action in the U.S. given at the E-Scrap 2003 Conference in Orlando, held in late 2003, showed a largely quiet legislative scene, with the exception being in California.
A summary of legislative action given by Wayne Rifer of Rifer Environmental, Portland, Ore., noted that although 53 electronics recycling related measures have been introduced in 29 different states in 2003, "progress was rare and success was rarer."
Rifer remarked that there was "something about the political climate out there" that probably prevented most of the 10 producer responsibility laws and 10 consumer fee systems proposed from making much headway.
Lively action was seen, however, in California, where SB 20 will impose a $6 to $10 recycling fee with the purchase of some electronic items. The bill was signed into law by then-Governor Grey Davis in Sept. 2003.
Rifer noted that, among the other laws that passed, many simply established advisory committees instructed to monitor the National Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) and make recommendations based on NEPSI’s policy statement.
The corporate and government stakeholders that make up NEPSI have not agreed upon such a system.
Jim Frey of Resource Recycling Systems Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., gave four potential scenarios of where electronics recycling could be headed in the U.S., commenting that a combination of market-driven and landfill diversion-driven factors could drive the market. "Market forces . . . are going to show how this will play out," he remarked.
Frey also noted that some manufacturers are contemplating the effects of the European Union’s WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment) regulations, which are not yet fully implemented.
If manufacturers ultimately find take-back and recycling systems mandated in Europe to be manageable (or in fact helpful in procuring secondary raw materials), it could lower their resistance to identical systems taking root elsewhere.
HOUSTON, WE NEED A SHREDDER
Equipment makers who respond to government requests for proposals (RFPs), can enter the Space Age by replying to a request from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA’s Marshall Flight Center in Alabama has put out a bid for a "Mobile Document Shredding Disintegrator Truck." Respondents are urged to provide a quote on a shredder that can meet particle size requirements of 3/32" for classified document destruction.
More information on the bid can be found in the RFPs item posted to the www.RecyclingToday.com Web site for the week of Feb. 2.
FIRE HITS N.C. FIRMS
Two businesses in Durham, N.C., including a document shredding firm, suffered severe damage in late January by a fire that started in a warehouse the two companies shared. No injuries were reported.
The fire reportedly began at Shred All, a document destruction and recycling firm, and then spread to the front of the warehouse to S-Link, a company that stores and recycles computers.
CONSOLIDATION, UK STYLE
Centrol Recycling Group of the United Kingdom has purchased two other document destruction firms there, according to an online report from LetsRecycle.com. Both Axis Waste Services and Security Shredding Services have reportedly been purchased by Centrol. Centrol’s managing director is quoted as saying the company hopes to expand its services in a climate of increased compliance for forthcoming regulations.
NAID Sales Into San Diego
Sunshine and warm weather are in the forecast for the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), as it sails into San Diego in May for its Annual Conference & Expo.
The event, held in coordination with the Annual Conference of PRISM International (Professional Records & Information Services Management International), takes place May 19-21 at the Sheraton Marina & Resort.
Dozens of exhibitors are already signed up to display their products and services in the Information Destruction Pavilion, including makers of shredding equipment, trucks, balers and other products and services used by information destruction professionals.
More information and registration materials for the conference can be found at www.naidonline.org or are available by calling NAID at (602) 788-6243.
Research Boosted for Mixed Plastics
A newly-obtained $3 million grant will go toward improving markets for the mixed plastic scrap derived from the electronics recycling and data destruction stream.
A high-tech recycling initiative that is being jointly developed by West Virginia University and the Polymer Alliance Zone (PAZ) has obtained $3 million in new funding, according to the office of Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, D-W. Va.
The goal of the PAZ is to create a viable end market for the plastics recovered from the scrap electronics and data destruction stream. The two groups are working on the project, known as the Mid-Atlantic Recycling Center for End-of-Life Electronics. The project began in 1998 and has focused on new polymer separation technologies and the development of new uses for recycled plastics.
The money will will go toward ongoing research and in part toward the establishment of the Polymer Technology Park in Parkersburg, W. Va., and the Polymer Research Center at West Virginia University in Morgantown. In addition, it will support the expansion of Internet-based information exchanges for electronics recycling.
Says PAZ president R.V. "Buddy" Graham, "When implemented, this project will be living proof that you can protect the environment and at the same time create quality jobs and investments."