According to an article in PCworld Magazine by Christina DesMarais, (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048908/trashing-bans-not-reducing-office-e-waste.html), last week Jean-Daniel Saphores, an applied economist at the University of California-Irvine, presented research regarding U.S. recycling rates at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis. He surveyed 3,156 U.S. households and asked them how they had disposed of junk cell phones and how they intended to get rid of unwanted TVs.

At the time of his 2010 survey only California had legislation on the books regarding the disposal of cell phones and 13 states had laws that covered throwing away TVs. The study revealed that there is absolutely no difference in the statistics regarding proper disposal of ewaste in states that have legislation versus those that don’t. Saphores’ summary is that legislation is virtually useless.

The author continues to write facts that we’ve been saying for years: “Electronic waste from the U.S. often ends up in developing countries where workers at scrap yards, some of whom are children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and poisons while looking for valuable metals. Along with elements such as gold and copper, anything with a circuit board contains toxic substances, including lead, nickel, cadmium, mercury, brominated flame retardants (BFRs) or the chlorinated plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), all of which harm the environment.

Of the 1,352 e-scrap processing plants in the United States only 114 are certified by a non-profit called e-Stewards not to export overseas, dump or burn their waste. E-Stewards says only 11-14 percent of e-waste is sent to recyclers—the rest ends up in landfills or is burned resulting in soil, water and air pollution. Of the e-waste sent to e-cyclers, 70-80 percent of it is exported to countries with lax environmental and labor regulations.”

Drop us a line if you’d like to learn more about our e-stewards certification and what it means for our clients. gabrielleb@anythingit.com.

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Reprinted from:

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/22561/20130820/e-waste-recycling-up-but-new-standards-needed

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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“We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again. The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity and security on a resource that will eventually run out. Not anymore. Not when the cost to our economy, our country, and our planet is so high. Not when your generation needs us to get this right. It is time to do what we can to secure our energy future.”

-President Obama, March 30, 2011

Download the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (pdf)

In an effort to keep America on the cutting edge of clean energy technology, whitehouse.gov states that we must “focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity, including renewables like wind and solar, as well as clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.”

To help us reach these goals, the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future outlines a three-part strategy:

  • Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies: We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.
  • Provide Consumers With Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy: Volatile gasoline prices reinforce the need for innovation that will make it easier and more affordable for consumers to buy more advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles, use alternative means of transportation, weatherize their homes and workplaces, and in doing so, save money and protect the environment. These measures help families’ pocketbooks, reduce our dependence on finite energy sources and help create jobs here in the United States.
  • Innovate our Way to a Clean Energy Future: Leading the world in clean energy is critical to strengthening the American economy and winning the future. We can get there by creating markets for innovative clean technologies that are ready to deploy, and by funding cutting-edge research to produce the next generation of technologies. And as new, better, and more efficient technologies hit the market, the Federal government needs to put words into action and lead by example.
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The minimum wage in Haiti is $0.30 an hour.

The minimum wage for prison labor is $0.23 an hour.

But so what? They are prisoners, right? They aren’t free, can’t vote, and shouldn’t be subject to the same minimum wage requirements that other citizens are.

The problem is that prison labor processes a large percentage of government electronic waste. How careful, diligent, and thorough do you think a prisoner, who is forced to work, and only being paid 23 cents an hour is going to be?

Prison labor is not confined to processing electronic waste. Unicor, Federal Prison Industries, has divisions that produce military clothing, electronic parts, run call centers, and manufacture bedding, license plates, signs, and printing. The failure rate among prisoner made wire sold to the military is 200% higher than the military’s next worst supplier. They have a 42% rate of delivering orders late, compared to the industry standard of 6%

Want some facts? read here:

http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/prisonlabor.html

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