Sponsored by Oregon Business

E-waste industry helps boost jobs

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 

0411_Ewaste
Oregon has 230 e-waste collection businesses.

After an uncertain start, the state law that bans trashing electronic waste has kept heaps of toxic material out of landfills and created jobs. But just how many jobs is unknown, and as the Legislature considers expanding the program it is also looking to tweak the rules with job creation in mind.

The state’s oversight agency, Oregon E-Cycles, doesn’t track the number employed in jobs related to the program. However, the volume of computers, monitors and televisions recycled under the law and figures kept by the program’s largest recycler indicate that hundreds of jobs have been created since the program began.

Under the law, manufacturers doing business in the state must pay into a state-administered program or participate in a manufacturer-created program that reimburses the collectors and recyclers of toxic e-waste.

In 2010, the first year of the ban, Oregonians recycled more than 24 million pounds of e-waste. It was an increase of 5 million pounds from a trial run the previous year, partly explained by new collection facilities in Eastern Oregon and other rural areas.
Now there are about 230 collecting organizations. That’s actually fewer than last year, but it doesn’t mean fewer workers, says E-Cycles program manager Kathy Kiwala. E-waste collectors range from nonprofits to solid-waste collectors. And there are five recycling processors in the state, with another two in Washington and one in California.

Universal Recycling Technologies in Clackamas, which recycled more than a third of Oregon’s e-waste last year, opened after the law passed. URT expects to move to a new building and hire more workers this year, though it can't say how many.

The 30 or so collectors who work with URT have hired about 40 people total since the ban.  “When you talk about job creation, that doesn’t even account for the network of transportation and the other collection networks,” says Tom Pritchett, URT's director of environmental health and safety.

At a recent hearing on amending the e-waste law before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, state legislators pressed the need for job creation in Oregon, but more immediately they looked to incentivize more recycling with credits for manufacturers who exceed their recycling quotas, which they could sell to others who lag behind.

A 2010 study predicts global growth for e-waste. The challenge for Oregon is to channel that growth into jobs and measure it.

COREY PAUL
 

More Articles

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...

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

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