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Keurig Green Mountain begins to take steps in the right direction

The last article we posted about the Keurig cups has a bit of an update. Keurig Green Mountain has just released a new product called a K-Mug, which is essentially a travel mug that has a larger pod. This K-Mug pod is ‘recyclable’ according to the company. It is made up of #5 plastic and can be separated from the lid and filter for recycling. According to Keurig Green Mountain, their Vue and K-Carafe pods are also now recyclable, leaving the original K-cups out of the loop. Keurig is taking the right steps to reach their goal of making all of their pods recyclable by 2020, but releasing a new product that features a recyclable pod doesn’t quite have the same impact as changing the K-cups to be recyclable. There are still billions of K-cups going into the trash every single day. It is the hopes of many that Keurig will make all of their cups recyclable before their 2020 goal deadline.

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Recycling Event!!

Accurate IT Services will be participating in a recycling event at Athens County Fairgrounds on March 28th from 10am to 2pm. Everything from electronics and building supplies to clothes and furniture can be recycled during this event. All recycling services are free, with the exception of non flat screen monitors and televisions, which require a $20 cash only fee. You will not be able to recycle light bulbs or alkaline batteries. For more information on this event, view the link below.

 

http://www.ohio.edu/compass/stories/14-15/3/recyclemania-community-day.cfm?utm_source=Athens+Staff+Spring+2015&utm_campaign=93328694f1-Compass_Monday_March_23_2015_athens+staff&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_03b9e7ecb2-93328694f1-40769629

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Recycling Interest Groups Take On Keurig Green Mountain

As an electronics recycler, we see our fair share of plastics that need to be recycled, like computer cases and household appliances. One type of plastic that many people use is the Keurig K-cups and unfortunately they are not readily recyclable. It says on their website that they aren’t and that they are currently working on the problem. They expect to have a solution by 2020, 5 years from now. Most people find this answer to be unacceptable, including the creator of the design, John Sylvan. He has approached the company several times with solutions to this problem and his ideas have been rejected. He actually regrets coming up with one of the most popular coffee brewing designs because of the impact on the environment.

According to several sources, many companies that have tried to fix the problem on their own are actually being sued by Keurig Green Mountain. One company has actually created a plastic clip for the single serve brewer that allows for outside single serve cups; ones that are recyclable. According to this company, the impact of the non recyclable K-cups in nearly unfathomable. “Lined up, end to end, the 9.8 billion 2-inch pods sold by Keurig in 2014 alone would encircle the equator 12.4 times, according to Murray Carpenter, author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us. The estimated 35.6 billion pods sold by Keurig since 2007 (Green Mountain Coffee purchased coffee-maker Keurig in 2006) would encircle the globe more than 45 times.”

Those numbers are quite shocking, especially for such a short timeline, and are only expected to increase. Most homes and offices have this type of appliance and every single day these cups are ending up in the trash. While Keurig is looking into a compostable option for its cups, most cities lack the infrastructure in their municipalities to make a big difference. They also have the brew your own style cup where you can fill it with whatever coffee or tea grounds you like. The problem is, most people still buy the K-cups because they can just throw them away when they are done instead of washing out the custom brew container. Many third party companies are now spreading the word on the environmental impact in an effort to help the environment and are doing what they can to come up with solutions.

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Accurate IT Services Helps Create Training Video with Dublin Power Plus and OCALI

Yesterday, we were honored to work on a training video with Dublin City Schools Power Plus Program and OCALI, the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence.  They filmed the Power Plus Students while working at our warehouse and showed detailed the training they receive.  They also interviewed them and our staff about their experiences and thoughts on this partnership. They interviewed Jack Knapp our Director of Client Relations, Rich Williams the tear down supervisor and Matt Muse the warehouse manager about the young men and the program.  Yesterday’s filming will be part of a training video series that will be used by schools, businesses, and organizations worldwide. We are honored to have been include on this inspirational learning tool. Now we are able to help not only Central Ohio communities, but communities throughout the world.  

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CRT Glass Recycling and Reuse Development

As most of us in the recycling world know, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) glass is very difficult to deal with and handling CRT equipment can be a dangerous job because of the amount of lead. CRT equipment is considered one of the hardest types of electronics to recycle. There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to reusing it and there is an over abundance of this type of equipment in the recycling industry. Recently, there have been some interesting developments for the reuse of CRT glass. One spanish based company is beginning a pilot project for using the glass in ceramic tiles. There is already a company in California that is currently making these tiles. They basically turn the CRT glass into a sand like material. This material can also be used in road striping, building materials, and even used as golf course sand. CRT glass can be used as charge material in certain metal production processes. While the reuse market is still very small, there have been great developments in recent years. With the continued dedication of the community we can divert all of CRT equipment from landfills everywhere and even make use of it with the recent advancements in technology.

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Accurate IT Services and the Power Plus Program - Interview with Jared Ulred

Jared has also been learning here since August, like the other Power Plus students. Jared’s favorite thing to do here is work in the shipping and receiving department where he can hone his already polished skill set. He is a very talented and experienced student. Jared has also learned how to take apart computers and sort the various electronics that get recycled here. Jared feels that Accurate IT Services has really helped him and that he will be able to find employment because he now has warehouse experience. Jared likes the work environment here and says he feels good emotionally. We are happy to have Jared here learning skills every week. Thank you Jared, for all your talented work here at Accurate IT Services. The Power Plus students are amazing to work with and we truly value the opportunity to help the community.

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Accurate IT Services and the Power Plus Program - Interview with Joshua McDonald

Josh is one of the many great students in the Power Plus Program, which is a community based post secondary job training program created by Dublin City Schools. Josh has also been here a little over six months and during his time here he has increased his skill set tremendously. He’s always got a smile on his face and he’s a very hard worker. In his interview, he said that he feels happy and proud to learn at Accurate IT Services. He also said that learning here has helped him become more independent and that he is able to use tools more efficiently. Like the other Power Plus students, Josh feels that training here will help him gain employment in the future. That is why the Power Plus Program is so great. It teaches job skills to these young adults so that they can apply them in life. We are so lucky to be able to work with this program and great students like Josh. Thank you Josh, for all your hard work here from all of us at Accurate IT Services.

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Accurate IT Services and the Power Plus Program - Interview with Mike Liba

We’ve interviewed another student in the Power Plus Program, Mike Liba, and asked him about his experience at Accurate IT Services. He has also been here since August of last year and he enjoys taking apart electronics. Mike said that learning these skills has applied to other areas in his life including being able to help his father. He believes that by learning and using these skills his possibilities are endless. He’s also learned how to take apart computers and identify the specific components in them. These skills can be retained and applied in life to help Mike find employment when he graduates. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to give back to the community. We are happy to give these students a place to gain knowledge and experience. We would also like to thank Mike for all his excellent work here.

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Accurate IT Services and the Power Plus Program - Interview With Colin Hopper

We got the chance to ask Colin Hopper, a student in the Power Plus program, about his work here and what he’s learned so far. He’s been here since August of last year and his favorite thing to do is deconstruct computer towers and servers. Colin elaborated on the types of skills he has learned here including patience, repetition, professionalism, and how to meet work standards. Colin also said that learning at Accurate IT Services will help him to keep improving and even find employment when he graduates. We are delighted to work with these students and teach them valuable skills. We want to thank the Dublin Power Plus program for giving us the opportunity to help the community and Colin for all his hard work here at Accurate IT Services.

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Our Client Relations Team Attends the OETC

Accurate IT Services was happy to join the hundreds of schools and technology professionals at The Ohio Educational Technology Conference this week. The OETC is the largest P-20 state educational technology conference in the nation. Here, technology professionals and enthusiasts alike come together to explore the forefront of learning and innovation in Ohio. For us, the client relations team, it was really a great opportunity to get to know our clients. Clyde Woodson, our Client Relations Manager, enjoyed meeting the technology leaders in Ohio along with the many teachers and principals. At the OETC, we learned about where education is headed in Ohio and how many classrooms are now using computers instead of traditional textbooks, even elementary schools. Making this type of technology accessible to our children at the earliest age possible is the future of education.

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CRT Glass Takes Down Another Company

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Jan. 29, 2015

The trustee appointed to handle the liquidation of Creative Recycling Systems told E-Scrap News the company's collapse came down to one thing: CRT glass.

In an interview, Jerry McHale, trustee for the Florida-based processor currently ensnared in a multi-million dollar legal battle with Regions Bank, said Creative failed to devise a reasonable strategy to handle the significant loads of glass that came in company doors.

"Going back in history, to me, it looks like there was no strategic plan as to how they were going to solve their glass problem," McHale said. "Something should have occurred far earlier to take care of it or to adjust their pricing to reflect the fact that they were going to have to pay 15 or 20 cents a pound to get rid of that glass."

According to McHale, the company has roughly 30 million pounds of CRT material sitting in warehouses throughout the East Coast. It is also being sued for nearly $19 million by Regions Bank.

After failing to find a buyer for the once-promising company, and its extensive stockpile of CRT glass, Creative filed papers with a Florida court in mid-December to voluntarily liquidate its remaining assets and resolve its debts as part of the Regions case.

"Virtually all of the prospective buyers I talked with were really just interested in the potential acquisition of the assets," McHale explained. "If they acquired the company, they were also acquiring the glass and no one, I assure you, no one was interested in that glass."

McHale said the company, which has managed to sell some of its processing equipment, has few remaining assets to convert into capital. No employees remain with Creative.

As for who's going to be in charge of one day recycling the glass, McHale pointed to an abandonment order, approved by the court on Nov. 20, transferring ownership of all assets, including glass, to Regions and landlords of former Creative properties.

"This could be a Gordian knot," McHale said.

http://resource-recycling.com/node/5640

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Accurate IT Services Teaches Job Skills to the Community

Here at Accurate IT Services, we believe in giving back to our community. We work with Central Ohio schools and career development agencies to help young adults with special needs learn job skills. Jack Knapp, our Director of Client Relations, has helped Accurate IT Services make this possible by working with these schools and agencies. These programs help these young adults learn critical thinking and communication skills so they can find employment when they graduate. At Accurate IT Services, they are learning many on the job skills, including how to deconstruct computers and electronics. These students also learn how to identify and sort different types of electronics, among many other skills. This hands on approach to job training will help these young adults achieve long term success.

Scott Weigand, our Chief Operating Officer, believes that strong learning environments can truly shape young minds and prepare them for the future. Guiding young adults and helping them learn valuable job skills is Scott’s real passion in life. Accurate IT Services ensures that these students get real experience and on the job knowledge to help them grow.

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Our Director of Client Relations, Jack Knapp, Is a Finalist for the Regional Leadership Award

We'd like to congratulate our very own Jack Knapp, Director of Client Relations, for becoming a finalist for the Regional Leadership Award! 

Originally Posted by MORPC

MORPC STATE OF THE REGION 2015 AWARD NOMINEES
January 13, 2015

Community leaders who made extraordinary efforts in contributing to the welfare of Central Ohioans will be honored by MORPC at the State of the Region Luncheon on Thursday, April 2 in the George Bellows Ballroom, Hilton in downtown Columbus. An awards ceremony honoring the winners of these prestigious awards is scheduled to take place at the luncheon.

The William C. Habig Collaborative Achievement award was created in 2006 in honor of William C. Habig, who served MORPC for 39 years, 34 years as executive director. The William C. Habig Collaborative Achievement award is annually presented to an individual or individuals who have achieved an effective effort or innovative collaborative in Central Ohio. The honoree (s) will have demonstrated success in developing a specific initiative or entity that supports broad inclusion and encourages diverse perspectives. The initiative or entity delivers tangible results addressing key challenges facing the region. The 2015 Nominees include:

 I270/US33 Interchange Project Partnership - A broad-based, multi-year coalition of public and private Central Ohio partners has propelled the I270/US33 Interchange's reconstruction start date to early 2015, at least 10 years ahead of schedule. The diverse collaboration of business organizations including the Union County Economic Development, the Columbus Chamber, Columbus 2020 and the Columbus Partnership; over 400 firms and individuals; ODOT; MORPC and the City of Dublin committed to making this project the region's top priority.

 Yaromir Steiner, Chair of insight2050 steering committee - Yaromir Steiner, CEO of Steiner + Associates, and chair of the collaborative insight2050 initiative. Yaromir has been instrumental in bringing the private sector to the table and in successfully leading the diverse 30 member steering committee through the nine month project time frame. insight2050 is a public-private partnership that provides objective data and analysis to local governments, developers, and business leaders about the impact of the region’s population growth of the next 30+ years that is expected to be dramatically different from the past. The project results allow our communities to better understand the impact of future land use policies on key issues such as transportation, land consumption, government budgets, environmental and air quality.

• Jobs Expansion & Transportation (JET) Task Force – The JET Task is providing an actionable plan for increasing direct flights, expanding economic development, and examining the feasibility of making Port Columbus a regional transportation center.

• Senior Service Roundtable of Columbus and Franklin County - The Senior Services Roundtable celebrated its seventh anniversary in 2014. What began as a handful of concerned citizens and two government agencies has snowballed into a group of nearly 900 individuals, groups and organizations all committed to helping older adults. The Senior Services Roundtable of Columbus and Franklin County is a clearinghouse of information and ideas to assist seniors in Central Ohio, particularly those striving to remain independent in their later years.

First introduced in 1997, the Regional Leadership Award recognizes individuals in a 15-county region (Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Hocking, Knox, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, Ross and Union counties) who make extraordinary efforts to ensure the future viability of the region's communities. The Regional Leadership Award is derived from the Commission's continuing dedication to addressing issues that transcend community boundaries and to stimulating visionary thinking. The 2015 Nominees include:

• Jack Knapp – Accurate IT Recycling Services
• Mayor Michael B. Coleman – City of Columbus
• John O'Meara – Franklin County Metro Parks

Online registration for the State of the Region is available at www.morpc.org/sotrevent. Early bird tickets are available for $85 each or $850 for a table of ten. After March 6, tickets will be available for $95 each. For more information, please contact Bernice Cage at 614-233-4157 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The e-scrap year in review 2014

Dec. 31, 2014

With the new year upon us, E-Scrap Newsrecaps a busy 2014 news cycle that saw CRT glass management issues take center stage alongside legislative battles and some surprising industry twists and turns.

In January, talk of a national billlimiting e-scrap exports was quelled after remarks made by Rep. John Shimkus. In a meeting with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Shimkus stated the proposed legislation, known as RERA, was not on his subcommittee's agenda for 2014. That development was celebrated by ISRI, a powerful opponent of the legislation, while the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling pledged to fight on.

On the heels of an announcement by Sims Recycling Solutions that 12 of its 14 North American facilities had become dual-certified to the e-Stewards and R2 standards, E-Scrap Newstook a look at the growing dual-certification trend. Research found more than 70 percent of firms certified to e-Stewards also held the R2 certification. John Shegerian, the CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, told the magazine dual certification was a simple matter of client demand. "So many clients wanted R2 and so many clients wanted e-Stewards, so we said we're just going to do both."

Based on the findings of an extensive telephone survey, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) released data on remaining U.S. CRT tonnages. While about half as high as a previous estimate by recycling firm Kuusakoski, the CEA figure suggested roughly 3.5 million tons of CRT TVs and computer monitors could be found in American closets, basements and living rooms. "There are still a lot of CRTs out there. ... Six billion pounds of CRT TVs and 1 billion pounds of CRT monitors," Walter Alcorn, CEA's vice president of environmental affairs, said at the time. "But it's not infinite. This too shall pass, in terms of the CRT stream."

A former e-Stewards and R2-certified firm found itself in hot water this past March after leaving behind a significant stockpile of CRT glass at its closed Cincinnati site. After closing in 2013, 2trg sold its assets to publicly traded E-Waste Systems (EWSI) and claimed EWSI was also responsible for the glass on site. EWSI denied those claims but eventually participated in an effort to clean up the site. EWSI, the subject of a feature in the June 2014 print edition of E-Scrap News, would later be evicted from its own Ohio location in late 2014.

Creative Recycling Systems announced in May it would be closing its central processing facility in Tampa, Florida. The announcement was followed by rapid closuresof Creative properties throughout the country as the firm battled an $18.7 million lawsuit against it by Regions Bank. Creative filed for bankruptcy and looked for a potential buyer, but on Dec. 16 of 2014 announced it would aim to liquify its remaining assets.

After closing facilities in Dallas and New Jersey, Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS) formulated a major restructuring of its Canadian and U.K. operations. The company said it was closing all Canadian operations and substantially reducing its U.K. activity. While competition was cited as a major challenge in the U.K., Sims argued original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in Canada had formed a "virtual monopoly organization" that forced the firm out of the region.

In a victory for reuse advocates in the industry, Congress passed a phone unlocking bill in late July to overturn a 2012 decision by the Librarian of Congress that essentially made unlockings illegal. By making both individual and bulk unlockings legal again, Congress opened the door for the industry to bypass wireless carriers and free devices to be resold and reused worldwide. The victory, however, has the potential to be short-lived, as the Librarian of Congress has the power in 2015 to again review the reach of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and determine whether unlockings should be legal or illegal.

Though much of 2014 was defined by CRT management struggles, a note of hope was sounded in late summer. Reporting on the state electronics recycling program in Washington showed e-scrap tonnages collected in the Evergreen State were on the decline year-over-year, an indication thatfewer CRT devices were being handed in by residents. Some industry observers said the numbers may be a sign that U.S. CRT volumes could be close to plateauing.

The developing world's informal processing sector was a focal point of analysis and discussion at the Electronics Recycling Asia Conference, held in Singapore in Asia. Speakers from government groups, recycling firms and nonprofit organizations all touched on strategies to help transform processing conditions in poorer areas but noted existing structures should be developed, not eradicated altogether.

 

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

http://resource-recycling.com/node/5547

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CRT glass processor hit with $120,000 fine

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

March 20, 2014

An Arizona plant operated by Pennsylvania-based Dlubak Glass has been hit with a $120,000 fine for improper storage and recycling of CRTs.

During a routine inspection of the company's Yuma, Arizona plant, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) officials discovered broken CRT glass "throughout the five-acre facility," an ADEQ press release states. Soil stains were also detected, with lead levels "as much as 75 times more than the maximum federal and state exceedance level of five milligrams per liter."

In court, the company agreed to pay the $120,000 fine and store all glass indoors in clearly marked containers. Soil cleanup has also been performed.

Yuma is also the site of a now-notorious CRT abandonment by Dow Management in 2013. Approximately 3,000 tons of glass were left behind by Dow and a "voluntary" cleanup process has been undertaken by the company's former suppliers, ADEQ told E-Scrap News.

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by ClickGreen staff. Published Wed 26 Feb 2014

Despite the popularity of the mobile phone recycling industry, handsets only contribute towards a small percentage of the overall E-Waste accumulation. 

According to a study by the US US environmental Protection Agency only 11% of electronic waste is made up of mobile devices, the remaining 89% is computers, accessories, televisions and TV peripherals. 

UK based recyclers Bozowi Sell My Camera stated "Because mobile phone recycling has become such a large business venture over the last decade, people forget that handsets are a relatively small part of e-waste and you should consider recycling all your electrical devices the way you would with your phone."

43% of e-waste accretion is digital accessories and in 2010 this accumulated to a staggering 1,015,000 tons, 9% of which are digital cameras. 

This increasing trend of disposing of cameras is considered to be a by-product of consumers choosing Smartphones over digital cameras. The Telegraph reported that from 2006 to 2011 camera sales dropped by £245 million, which corresponds well the massive increases in smartphone popularity over the last eight years. 

Mintel Technology Analyst Samuel Gee said: "Although smartphone cameras do not typically match the quality of output of dedicated devices, the technology is consistently improving, as the quality of camera image output becomes too high for consumers to reliably distinguish between competitors."

The same report also stated that 21% of camera and camcorder owners agree that smartphones are a better long term investment. 

The managing director of Bozowi responded "We understand better than anyone that mobile phone recycling is the more finically secure route, but us and other recyclers need to start broadening our focus if we genuinely care about the deterioration of e-waste accumulation". 

Bozowi stated that they are developing a more diverse database and campaign that should hopefully encourage people to recycle more electrical appliances than just mobile phones. This campaign will also treat digital camera recycling as one of its primary focus points. 

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By 

Published March 06, 2014

FoxNews.com

 

It used to be wetlands, a recreation zone. Today the locals call it Sodom and Gomorrah.

Slag heaps of rusting electronics, old refrigerators and monitors are scattered everywhere in Agbogbloshie, a dumping ground in Ghana for electronic waste from the rest of the world. On the banks of a polluted river, smoking heaps of burning junk spew bilious, black fumes into the sky. To breathe is to cede years of your life.

The residents of Agbogbloshie are well aware of the poisons in the used electronics they scavenge. But for them, scavenging is the only way to make a buck.

“What you do to get money is what kills you,” one resident said recently. A translator went on to explain, “He knows that, yeah, I’m going to die from this someday. What can I do?”

Another explained the problem in broken English: “We are crying for work, suffering for work. How to eat is hard. There is no job enough, that’s why we come to south. And there is no job to the south. Only this.”

Kevin McElvaney, a 26-year-old business administrator from Germany, recently went to Agbogbloshie to document its ecotech disaster. His portraits show the people working there, mainly kids between 7 and 25, struggling to make a living.

“Before you enter the burning fields of Agbogbloshie, you will recognize a huge market. On one side you can buy cheap local fruits and vegetables and on the other side you will see loads of manufacturers and scrap dealers. Go to these scrap dealers and you will see men sitting on broken TVs smashing their hammers and simple tools against any kind of car parts, machines and electronic devices,” he wrote recently on his blog.

Whose trash is it, anyway?
Over the course of four days, McElvaney met hundreds of young boys and girls, most from the northern part of the country, who came south to burn cables and extract the copper from them. It can be sold on the market for pennies. Monitors can be disassembled to extract bits of precious metals; electronic parts can be removed from gadgets and sold – but at a terrible cost to the human body.

“Injuries like sears, untreated wounds, lung problems, eye and back damages go side by side with chronic nausea, anorexia, heavy headaches,” he wrote.

And where does the trash come from? Despite efforts to police itself, the U.S. contributes as much to the problem as anyone, experts say.

“Much of the incoming material comes from the U.K., but a lot comes from the U.S.,” Jim Puckett, an activist with the non-profit watchdog group Basel Action Network and former toxics director for Greenpeace International, told FoxNews.com by email.

“Last time I was in (nearby) Accra there was a lot of used electronic equipment from the U.S. government arriving there.… When after some time the computers do not sell in the shops, young boys with carts come by and pick them up and take them to the Agbogbloshie wetland/slum area to burn.”

The Basel Convention, organized by the U.N. and adopted in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland, aims to prevent the trade and movement of hazardous electronic wastes. To date, 180 countries and the European Union have signed on to the treaty.

The U.S. signed the treaty in 1990, but Congress never ratified it.

According to State Department policy, shipping electronics for repair, refurbishment or remanufacturing “does not constitute movement of waste, and thus is not impacted by the Convention or its procedures.” In addition, it says, the Convention lacks authority to enforce its own policy.

A number of U.S. businesses have sprung up that export e-waste to other countries -- the repair and remanufacturing the State Department mentions. Good Point Recycling, for example, processes 13 million pounds of electronics annually. Robin Ingenthron, the founder of the company, told FoxNews.com the Basel Convention and overeager activists have led to short-sighted policy. California recently shredded $100 million worth of reusable gear, rather than export it as “e-waste,” he said.

“As someone who lived in Africa for two and a half years,” Ingenthron said, “if you just go to World Bank statistics, Lagos (in Nigeria) had 6.9 million households with televisions in 2007. So what do you expect to see in Lagos dumps?”

And the photos from Agbogbloshie?

“The photos show stuff that’s been there for 15 years,” he said.

Quantifying the problem
Rather than the Basel Convention, the U.S. relies upon the electronics industry to police itself, through guidelines such as the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, a 2011 policy document from the EPA. (The EPA did not respond to FoxNews.com questions in time for this article.) It offers recommendations, not regulations.

As a result, activists say, the U.S. is essentially blind to the problem. We have no way to quantify the e-waste we export.

“When a nation ratifies the Basel Convention, they are required to monitor their export of hazardous waste,” said Sarah Westervelt, stewardship policy director with Basel Action Network. “We are not monitoring our export of this particular hazardous waste. We literally are not quantifying it.

“If we were to ratify the convention, we would be required to measure so we could quantify.”

The U.S. recently set out to do that. In December, the National Center for Electronics Recycling, working with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the EPA, released a report titled “Quantitative Characterization of Domestic and Transboundary Flows of Used Electronics,” which sought to measure the flow of waste from the U.S.

“We really don’t have a good handle on what exactly … is getting exported every year,” Jason Linnell, executive director of NCER and the report’s author, told FoxNews.com. “We needed to find a good way to get more data about what is actually going out of the country and set up a way to measure things going forward.”

The report found that 66 percent of e-waste in the U.S. is collected, but just 8.5 percent of it is exported as whole products. This represents the low end of what’s being exported, Linnell acknowledged, since the analysis relied on self-reports from the industry. Still, he thinks there has been progress.

Over the last 15 years, he said, “I tend to think the industry has come a long way. Blatant exporting … that’s harder to do now than it ever was.”

But Westervelt blasted the report and its methodology, saying it’s pointless to rely on the industry to report its own exports.

“Unfortunately the report is incredibly flawed,” she said. “When they have this voluntary survey that asks, ‘are you exporting to Africa,’ you’re not going to be getting reliable response.”

No end in sight
Meanwhile the volume of e-waste remains incredibly high. According to EPA estimates, 1.79 million tons were trashed in 2010 -- not including “TV peripherals” like VCRs, DVD players and so on.

And that number has likely soared, thanks to the explosion in mobile phones. But because the U.S. is the only developed country that hasn’t ratified the Basel Convention, it is in a unique position: It’s perfectly legal to load up a container ship with hazardous junk and sell it to the highest bidder. Once the container ship enters international water, though, it falls under the umbrella of international law -- where it’s illegal for about 143 developing countries to accept it. Many do anyway: e-waste is a lucrative business, after all.

“Companies are making money off this on both ends. But they’re causing these irreparable long-term impacts,” Westervelt said.

Ingenthron pointed out that Basel Action Network is one of those companies making money -- its e-Stewards program certifies recyclers and exporters, and charges them a hefty fee to be listed in its database, he alleged.

“They’re charging hundreds of thousands to certify companies for export,” he said. “None of that money goes to Africa.

“And that’s our objection to these photos. Its poverty porn.”

Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.

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Closed Cincinnati firm leaves behind major CRT stockpile

By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

March 7, 2014

E-scrap processor 2TRG has left behind significant tonnages of CRT glass as its former Cincinnati facility, several sources, including the Ohio EPA, have informed E-Scrap News.

After closing the doors to its 11093 Kenwood Road facility in Cincinnati last year, 2TRG, a former R2- and e-Stewards-certified processor, abandoned "tons upon tons of [CRT] glass" in Gaylord boxes, Global Environmental Services (GES) president Kenny Gravitt told E-Scrap News. Apparently unable to pay for downstream processing, 2TRG left at least 1,500 tons of the glass at the facility, Gravitt said.

Another processor who also toured the facility estimated there were upwards of 3,000 tons of intact and crushed CRT glass on-site.

While declining to confirm either estimate, the Ohio EPA did verify the existence of the glass at the former 2TRG facility. "Ohio EPA staff has visited the site," Dina Pierce, the state agency's media coordinator, told E-Scrap News. "Staff saw a large number of Gaylord boxes onsite containing various computer parts (not just CRT glass)."

State rules, according to Pierce and the Ohio EPA, hold both "the owner and operator responsible for appropriate management of CRT glass." With 2TRG no longer in business, the "property owner's representative told our inspectors he intends to take bids for a contract to remove the stockpiled computer materials, including the CRT glass," Pierce said.

Three processors, including GES, told E-Scrap News they had each entered a bid to take over the glass. One processor estimated a cleanup cost of roughly $600,000, while another suggested costs could easily exceed $1 million.

Attempts to contact the property owner and property manager were unsuccessful. Repeated attempts to reach former 2TRG executives, including CFO and founder Carol Weinstein, were unsuccessful.

Pierce told E-Scrap News the Ohio EPA "will monitor and follow up as needed to make sure any hazardous wastes at the site are properly managed and removed."

A number of 2TRG's assets were acquired in December of 2013 by the publicly traded firm E-Waste Systems (EWSI). An EWSI executive told E-Scrap News the acquisition excluded "anything that would have been a liability" and sources indicated 2TRG's CRT glass did not change hands in the deal.

While an increasing number of processors have indicated challenges moving CRTs downstream, 2TRG's alleged misconduct could represent one of the most surprising instances of a trusted and lauded firm unable to figure out how to address CRT management costs. The company had facilities in Geneva, New York and Georgetown, Kentucky in addition to the Cincinnati location.

As reported in this publication, a handful of other e-scrap processors, including some in Arizona, Colorado and Maryland, have also left piles of CRTs in warehouses. However, in comparison with 2TRG, some of those firms were small, underfunded operations. 2TRG was a more sizable industry member. For instance, the firm was previously a member of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., and the Cincinnati plant was certified under the industry's two hallmark standards, e-Stewards and R2.

Executives at 2TRG have previously stated the firm had annual revenues of more than $5 million annually and its three plants had a total footprint of more than 200,000 square feet.

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Global e-scrap market to quadruple in coming years

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 28, 2014

The annual e-scrap market is expected to reach nearly $41.4 billion by 2019, more than four times its 2012 value of $9.8 billion.

According to a market report by Transparency Market Research, regulatory improvements, sustainability programs from major manufacturers and "rapid industrialization" will play a major role in driving market growth. While Europe "dominated" e-scrap recycling in 2012, emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific, benefiting from cheap labor and rising access to used electronics, are expected to represent the fastest growing market for e-scrap going forward.

The region, which includes Korea, Taiwan, India, China and Japan, is also noted for its lack of regulatory measures, making it one of the biggest landing spots for e-scrap collected elsewhere.

By volume, the global e-scrap market reached 48.43 million tons of material in 2012. Volumes in 2019 are expected to reach about 141.1 tons, nearly tripling 2012 totals.

By revenue, steel accounted for a little more than a third of global e-scrap revenues. Steel, owing to its value as a recycled commodity, was also the most recycled material in the e-scrap stream during 2012.

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R2 certification hits milestone

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 14, 2014

More than 500 e-scrap recycling facilities around the world are now certified to the R2 standard.

R2 Solutions, the nonprofit organization responsible for developing and administering the standard, announced the news Feb. 7 in a press release. A total of 508 facilities across 14 countries are currently certified and "more are in the pipeline," the release states.

Facilities will have to update their certification this year to meet the recently introduced R2:2013 standard. A 58-page guidance document was released in November to aid firms conform to the changes, which include a requirement for certified facilities to have an environmental health and safety management system in place.

The R2 standard was founded in 2008.

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