Home The Latest 24 million pounds of e-waste gets recycled

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

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Why I became an educator

News
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
03.04.14 thumbnail teachBY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?


Read more...

Speeding up science

News
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
02.25.14 Thumbnail MedwasteBY JOE ROJAS-BURKE | OB BLOGGER

The medical research enterprise wastes tens of billions of dollars a year on irrelevant studies. It’s time to fix it.


Read more...

Closing the gap: Community colleges and workforce training

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
03.27.14 thumb collegeBY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.


Read more...

Video: Kickstarting Oregon business

News
Thursday, March 27, 2014
02.04.14 Thumbnail VideoBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Watch this OB Original Video about three Oregon companies and how crowd-funding "kickstarted" their business ideas.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


Read more...

Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
HiResBY PAIGE PARKER

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


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