Recyclers say e-waste law won't mean profit

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009

ewaste.jpg

STATEWIDE Oregon's new electronic waste law has recyclers bracing for a surge in e-waste this year. But the recession and a plunge in commodity prices could turn the law's first year into a bitter pill for the state's recycling industry.

State legislators unanimously passed a bill in 2007 that requires electronic manufacturers that do business in the state to pay into a state-administered program, or participate in a manufacturer-created program, that reimburses collectors and recyclers of toxic e-waste such as televisions and computer monitors. The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, prohibits recyclers from participating in the program to charge customers disposal fees for up to seven items.

"[The law is] definitely going to increase volume," says Andy Sloop, general manager of Portland-based Total Reclaim, an e-waste collector and processor. Free Geek in Portland, a nonprofit that collects and refurbishes used computers, took in 4% more used computers when the law took effect in January than it had in December.

ECS Regenesys, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based e-waste collector and processor with an office in Medford, says they've hired three people in Oregon to help with the extra workload.

But while an increase in volume typically means a boon to recyclers looking to extract precious metals and other valuable materials from e-waste, recyclers say the current reimbursement rate from the programs leaves no room for profit. They argue the current rate was set when commodity prices were soaring last year before the economic downturn, and now they are locked in until the next annual contracts are renegotiated.

"The cost of the program was heavily subsidized by the foreign commodity market," says Curt Spivey, a vice president at ECS Regenesys in Medford.

As a result, rates for individual customers and businesses looking to get rid of more than seven electronic items must be raised, says Spivey.

Even so, collectors and recyclers acknowledge the law benefits the environment and sets important industry standards. Proponents also say the law helps small businesses cut costs by offloading their dust-collecting gadgets for free.

Environmental groups such as the Association of Oregon Recyclers say the law is an effective way to prevent toxic electronic waste from entering the state's landfills.           

JASON SHUFFLER


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS