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 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


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