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

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


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...

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...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills

News
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
eventthumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


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