24 million pounds of e-waste gets recycled

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Tuesday, February 08, 2011

By Corey Paul

During the first year of a statewide ban on dumping electronics in the trash, Oregonians recycled more than 24 million pounds of electronics, or about 5 million pounds more than they did in 2009, according to data released this week by the Oregon E-Cycles program, part of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Program Manager Kathy Kiwala said two factors apart from the ban contributed to the increase in 2010, which was the second year of the program. First, it appears more people are upgrading to digital televisions and getting rid of their old ones. Also, recycling companies had to notify their customers of the ban, which meant more Oregonians learning about the potentially harmful pollutants contained in computers, monitors and televisions.

Under the E-Cycles program, the DEQ works with about 240 collectors across the state and 6 recycling companies.  In 2010, about 30 more electronic waste collectors opened statewide. Companies such as Fossil Solid Waste Transfer & Recycling in Wheeler County expanded access in Eastern Oregon, boosting the numbers further.

The E-Cycles program was established in 2007 by HB 2626, and it uses no tax payer money. Instead, the program relies on annual fees from electronics manufacturers that sell their products in Oregon. Fees are capped at $15,000 and based on sales from the year prior. Manufacturers also have to participate in a collection and recycling program, submitting a plan to the DEQ for approval. Smaller companies pay lower fees, say $40, and don't have to participate in the recycling on the scale of, say Dell.

Some of the electronics contain valuable elements such as copper, gold, and lead. Thus, the recycled products are sold to cover the required services, and can even lead to profit.

"There's no need to go out and mine a mountain top or into the ground when we can mine this pile of urban waste," Kiwala said. "It saves a lot of energy."

Even though the electronics contain toxins and carcinogens such as cadmium and mercury, disposal before the ban posed no imminent threat, according to DEQ. And though waste lingering in landfills is less than ideal, it hasn't been flagged for cleanup. That's because modern landfills are lined, catching runoff in pipes for treatment.

Corey Paul is an associate writer for Oregon Business.

 

 

Comments   

 
James Chesky
0 #1 E-Cycles programJames Chesky 2011-02-08 17:26:07
Even though the article was very short. (Too short really for an important subject, but aren't they all?) I would love to have seen a reference to Free Geek in Portland. This organization's concepts have spread and now FreeGeek type organizations are found throughout the nation. (In 2009, the Free Geek Community Technology Center became the first Oregon nonprofit recognized as a Basel Action Network e-Stewards Recycler, the gold standard for ethical practices in electronics recycling.) That taken from their website http://www.freegeek.org.

The point being, just to say we are tossing less into throw-away bin is one thing. To better understand how it is recycled, or becomes a source for computers for non-profits, the poor and computerless is another matter.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


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