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89% of e-waste is neglected due to mobile phone recycling popularity

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 ClickGreen staff

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Closed Cincinnati firm leaves behind major CRT stockpile

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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© Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

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R2 certification hits milestone

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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© Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

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MIT/NCER release study on electronics recycling

MIT/NCER release study on electronics recycling

Trade groups respond to the study, which says 90 percent of electronics collected in the U.S. are recycled domestically.

DECEMBER 20, 2013
 
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Materials Systems Laboratory and the U.S. National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) have released Quantitative Characterization of Domestic and Transboundary Flows of Used Electronics, a study that analyses the generation, collection and export of obsolete electronics generated in the United States. 


The study was completed under the umbrella of the StEP initiative—a partnership of several UN organizations, industry, government and international organizations, NGOs and the science sector—and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship. 

According to the report, it “presents the results of an effort to calculate quantities of used electronics (as whole units) generated and collected in the United States and exported from the United States.” The authors calculated generation and collection quantities using “a sales obsolescence method that included uncertainty,” while export quantities were calculated based on trade data. “The advantage of the trade data approach is that trade data for all types of electronic products is widely available (including extensive historical data), updated relatively frequently and provides insight into the destinations of products,” the authors note. 

Jane Nishida, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs, says, “We are pleased that StEP, working with the MIT and the NCER, was able to deliver a report that provides a scientific-based approach to generating information on U.S. exports of used electronics.”

According to the study, about 258.2 million units of used electronic were generated in the United States in 2010, of which 171.4 million units were collected. Export flows were estimated at 14.4 million units, or 8.5 percent of the collected estimate on average, the study notes. By weight, 1.6 million tons of used electronics were generated domestically in 2010, with 0.9 million tons collected for recycling. Of the collected electronics, 26,500 tons were exported, which is 3.1 percent of the electronics collected by weight. 

The study adds, “While the total quantity of used electronics exports reported here is most likely an underestimate due to the likelihood that some shipments of whole units are not reported using the proper trade codes, the proportions of exports to world regions is likely accurate.” 

According to the study, mobile phones dominate generation, collection and export on a unit basis, while television sets and monitors dominate on a weight basis. 

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, D.C., says it has welcomed the new report. According to ISRI, “This study, along with similar reports by the U.S. International Trade Commission and the International Data Corp., provide irrefutable evidence that used electronics products are being reused and recycled in America, not ‘dumped’ into developing countries as proponents of export controls have argued for years.”

Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, says, “This latest study adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S. electronics recycling industry is flourishing, recycling used electronics right here in America. Over the past 10 years this market has shown tremendous growth, and, today, American recyclers have the know-how, the technology and the capacity to handle the growing stream of used electronics products collected domestically.”

ISRI adds that the EPA estimates that only 25 percent of eligible used household electronics products are being collected for recycling. “Figuring out a way to pull that remaining 75 percent out of the basements and garages of homes throughout America, as well as preventing the material from being disposed of in landfills, provides the largest opportunity for increasing the recycling of used electronics in the U.S. and thus increasing jobs in the domestic electronics recycling industry,” Wiener says.

To address the opportunities recycling holds, ISRI recently launched Project Reboot, an effort to educate consumers on the importance of responsibly recycling used electronics and make them aware of opportunities for recycling within their communities. 

The steering committee for the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), which says it represents “U.S. companies that believe electronics recycling should be performed securely and sustainably, for the benefit of the American economy,” sent Recycling Today a statement in response to the release of MIT/NCER study and ISRI’s comments that reads:


“The new MIT/NCER study provides valuable insights into the dramatic growth of electronic waste around the world. However on the issue of exports, the study does not provide a sound platform for policy makers. As the authors note: ‘gaps in available data mean that the export quantities represent a lower bound. This is due to a lack of explicit data on used whole unit trade flows, which necessitates several key assumptions in the methodology. Therefore, it is important that other approaches be used to estimate export flows and compared with the quantities calculated in this report. This would provide insight into the magnitude of the error derived from the data gaps.

“As the largest representative body of electronics recyclers in the country, CAER members support the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (HR 2791) based on our real world experience in the marketplace. As the researchers acknowledge, transboundary flows of e-waste are highly complex and we would welcome an opportunity to collaborate as this issue continues to evolve. 

“While we disagree with ISRI on RERA, we support their efforts to increase consumer recycling here in the U.S. through Project Reboot. We strongly agree that increasing the current 25 percent recycling rate must be a top priority.”

Copyright

© Recycling Today Staff

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Out with the Old and In with the New

Out with the Old and In with the New

 As the holiday season approaches, many will find a new computer, laptop, or LCD monitor or TV under their tree. And, as they unwrap their presents and discover these new electronics, their immediate response will not be “How do I recycle my old one?” However, after a couple weeks or months of sitting under a desk or in a garage, the time will finally come when the old PC, LCD, or gaming system will become “e-waste” and needs to be disposed of properly.

 That is where Accurate IT Services comes in. We recycle all electronics, from computers and laptops to televisions, cell phones, and all-around IT scrap. We are an R2-certified electronics recycler in Columbus, OH that can offer a free recycling service for most electronics. More importantly, we are able to offer upfront payment for remarketable electronic equipment.

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Accurate IT Services and Big Green Head Partner Up!

Accurate IT Services and Big Green Head Partner Up!

Recently, Accurate IT Services and Columbus Ohio’s premier green promoter Big Green Head have begun a partnership which will provide community recycling events throughout Columbus and its surrounding communities throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2012.

Big Green Head is an organization dedicated to changing common misconceptions about “going green.” They focus on promoting their mission that even small steps can be taken to create big differences in the environment. On top of educating the public about going green, they promote green events throughout the Central Ohio region.

Accurate IT Services will collect e-waste like computers, monitors, cell phones, and IT scrap for free. There will also be TV recycling for $15/unit. Current dates set up for the collection of e-waste are Thomas Worthington High School on 5/19 and City of Powell on 9/29.

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For over ten years Accurate IT Services has been at the forefront of Internet retail with our value priced LCD monitors, laptops, computers, and professional grade CRT monitors.

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