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Aug 20, 2013 — New York State has seen a boost in the volume of electronic waste being recycled since new legislation was introduced in 2011. The laws make manufacturers responsible for the recycling of their own products and bans disposals of consumer electronics in landfills.This means that recycling companies are doing well, but plans for national regulations remain stalled.

Two years after its enactment, a New York state law governing the recycling of electronic waste is making an impact according to a progress report. The study from the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) shows more involvement from industry, but a number of the big box retailers are still lagging behind.

New York state residents produce more than 300 million pounds of electronic waste each year. And the number of outdated computers, phones, televisions and appliances are continuing to pile up. Most of these items contain hazardous materials, and in 2011 the state passed a law mandating that manufacturers create programs to collect used consumer electronics, and recycle them.
The plan was to reduce the cost burden on local governments and make it easier for consumers to keep their old electronics out of landfills.

According to the PSI report, the number of collection sites for electronic scrap has increased by nearly 80 percent since the program was launched.

Institute CEO and founder Scott Cassel says while it’s definitely easier for consumers to recycle their electronics, there’s still more work to be done.

“We want there to be more convenient options. You can’t tell residents to recycle if it’s going to be inconvenient for them. So, it’s the awareness and it’s the increased opportunities for collection.”

Cassel says it’s also important for retailers to get involved.

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When we talk about the value of using a fully certified electronic recycler, this is the type of story we use as an example. An e-Steward recycler is audited periodically, to ensure that every pound of material that enters our facility is accounted for, and that all of our recycling partners hold the same standard.

According to the Denver Post, a Colorado recycling company has been ordered to pay more than $4 million in fines, and two executives have been sentenced to prison for a scheme to illegally dispose and export electronic waste to foreign countries.

Brandon Richter, 38, and his company, Executive Recycling, were sentenced Tuesday in federal court for collecting electronic waste from private households, businesses and government entities, then illegally dumping that waste or sending a vast majority of it to China, according to a news release from Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado.

The corporation was sentenced to pay a $4,500,000 fine and serve three years on probation, the release states. Richter was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years on supervised release, in addition to a $7,500 fine and $70,144 in restitution, according to the release.

Between February 2005 to January 2009, executives for the recycling company told costumers that collected waste would be disposed of safely and responsibly. Yet, negotiations were ongoing for the sale of the waste to brokers representing foreign buyers, including China, according to the release.

More than 100,000 cathode ray tubes were exported in 160 cargo containers out of the country between 2005 and 2008, the release states.

The Executive Recycling website does not currently make any environmental claims, nor does it make any notation about compliance or data security.

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