E-Scrap News Magazine

Updated: 22 hours 15 min ago

E-Scrap 2014: See the premiere of "The E-Waste Tragedy"

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:31
E-Scrap 2014: See the premiere of "The E-Waste Tragedy"

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Oct. 16, 2014

The contentious issue of scrap electronics exports is looked at by a new documentary from filmmaker Cosima Dannoritzer, and attendees of next week's E-Scrap Conference will have the chance to participate in a dialogue with industry leaders after the screening.

Dannoritzer's "The E-Waste Tragedy" will be making its U.S. premiere at the conference. The screening is set for 7 p.m. at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando, Florida. The 86-minute film will be followed by an open discussion that all attendees are encouraged to take part in.

To see the trailer for "The E-Waste Tragedy," click here.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek. To register and get all the latest conference information, head to e-scrapconference.com.

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NewsBits

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:25
NewsBits

Oct. 16, 2014

Wisconsin's Chippewa County is ceasing its free drop-off program for end-of-life electronics collection. A county recycling official said the move comes as a response to "recent changes in the state's recycling program."

The U.S. EPA has awarded a $52,000 grant to nonprofit organization Fundación Hélice to collect e-scrap along the U.S.-Mexico border. The funding is part of a larger water pollution prevention initiative.

Vietnam is set to implement a national electronics recycling initiative that will require equipment manufacturers and product importers to establish collection sites for e-scrap. The mandate goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

With a new version of Apple's iPad expected to be announced this week, ecoATM undertook a survey to find out which features on an updated device would most likely spur consumers to trade in their existing tablets and purchase the latest technology. Faster processing capability was the deciding factor most often cited, but the study also found 58 percent of respondents are satisfied with current models and will not be upgrading in the immediate future.

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Family ties threaten Creative Recycling equipment deal

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:41
Family ties threaten Creative Recycling equipment deal

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Oct. 9, 2014

The counsel for fallen processor Creative Recycling Systems has raised questions about familial connections between Creative and the firm slated to buy $700,000 worth of equipment from it.

In a court document dated Oct. 6, Creative's legal representative, Jay Verona, writes that "additional facts" have surfaced regarding the relationship between Creative and 3S International, the firm interested in purchasing Creative's Bluebox technology. Tampa, Florida-based Creative filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, and a Florida judge approved the Bluebox deal on Sept. 30.

3S International's minority owner, Verona's subsequent research has found, is Joe Yob, the former senior vice president of Creative and the brother of Creative founder Jon Yob. Another family member formerly employed by Creative — Gina Yob, a cousin of Joe and Jon Yob — also works for 3S as vice president of sales and marketing.

Jon Yob served as president at Creative for 18 years before selling the company to an investor group in 2012.

According to Verona, the Yob family connections were not known prior to the Bluebox sales agreement but could raise questions surrounding original claims that Michigan-based 3S was "neither an 'insider' nor an 'affiliate' of CRS."

Verona said 3S' lawyer, Michael Watkins, "stated that Jon Yob is not affiliated with 3S" when Verona inquired on the possible business connection.

Verona added the family connections do not make the deal illegal or void. "It’s just one of many factors that the bankruptcy court would consider in determining whether the sale is in the best interests of the bankruptcy estate," he said.

Originally, Creative had requested and gained approval from the Florida judge to sell the company's Bluebox equipment to 3S for $700,000.

In a court document, Creative stated the $700,000 price tag "is fair and adequate," adding that "it is unlikely that a higher sale price for the Bluebox would be achieved through a competitive bidding process and/or individual sales."

The acquisition would make 3S the sole owner of the two Bluebox machines in operation in the U.S. The machine crushes and separates flat panel display devices as well as fluorescent lamps and tubes.

Creative, meanwhile, is in the throes of an $18.7 million lawsuit and recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company's court-appointed receiver, Robert Swett, is currently attempting to salvage and sell off company assets.

Jon Yob, who served as president of the firm for 18 years, had faced a separate lawsuit in which he was accused of misrepresenting the value of the company when it was sold in 2012. That suit, however, was recently dismissed.

Creative continues to operate out of locations in Florida and North Carolina, but has shut down numerous other sites, most along the East Coast.

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E-Scrap 2014: A global get-together

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:37
E-Scrap 2014: A global get-together

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Oct. 9, 2014

This month's E-Scrap Conference will be a great representation of the increasingly international nature of electronics recycling.

With two weeks left before the conference kicks off, attendees have registered from 46 states, six Canadian provinces and 34 other countries. In addition, the conference sessions will feature presentations on the transboundary flows of scrap electronic material and also touch on policies and collection programs being implemented in different nations around the world.

Be sure to head to E-Scrap 2014 to connect yourself to the global e-scrap trade and better understand how the market is developing both here and abroad.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek. The 2013 edition saw more than 1,300 attendees and 125 exhibiting companies. Get all the latest information at e-scrapconference.com.


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Illinois firm to use CRT glass to manufacture ceramic tiles

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:32
Illinois firm to use CRT glass to manufacture ceramic tiles

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Oct. 9, 2014

Com2 Recycling Solutions says a new production line has been installed at its expanded Carol Stream, Illinois headquarters to use both panel and funnel CRT glass as a flux and lead oxide to make ceramic tiles.

"With glass-to-glass and smelting options shrinking, we knew we had to figure out a way to economically recover the glass ourselves," Com2's CEO Saheem Baloch said in a release earlier this month.

The company, which has processed e-scrap for a number of years, says its CRT pricing "is expected to be quite competitive with other options" and claims it will be able to process 15,000 tons of CRT glass each year. Production will start either in late October or early November, said the company's vice president of sales and marketing, Mark Medic. Testing has shown the tiles "pass the hazardous waste test for all substances," according to the company.

Medic noted that there are "serious limitations" when it comes to current outlets for U.S. glass, a situation that is expected to worsen if Videocon, the lone glass-to-glass recycling option, discontinues processing glass as some in the industry have speculated.

Com2 had been sending glass downstream to Videocon, but began developing its own process once it became clear the firm "wasn't going to be in the CRT business much longer," Medic said.

The announcement comes on the heels of the U.S. EPA's approval of the tile manufacture process, which is also being employed in Spain through Camacho Recycling, as "legitimate recycling." While noting that states had the authority to issue more stringent policies, the federal stance is expected to trickle down to local governments attempting to handle the CRT-dominant consumer electronics waste stream.

Coms's Carol Stream facility is certified to the R2:2008 standard, according to the certification website. The company's Mississauga, Ontario facility is certified to both R2 and e-Stewards.

Com2's emergence in the CRT recycling field comes as the space continues to expand. Com2's Illinois competitor Kuusakoski U.S. is working with a landfill to turn glass into alternative daily cover – a process the federal EPA, many states and both certification standards deem disposal, not recycling – while Nulife Glass and Closed Loop Refining and Recovery are taking on glass feedstock in preparation to run CRT glass smelting operations. Another company, newcomer Recovered Energy, has plans to process glass using plasma processing at sites in Idaho and Florida.

Com2 says it was able to secure financing from a bank for the $1.2 million to $1.5 million project.


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Wide world of e-scrap

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:29
Wide world of e-scrap

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Oct. 9, 2014

Australian authorities have recently uncovered a number of export containers holding old electronics without proper permits, and a short film available online attaches a human face to the Ghana e-scrap issue.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported authorities in Australia have over the past five years intercepted 21 containers holding used electronics that were being shipped from the nation to ports in Africa and Asia without proper hazardous waste permits. Australian officials have not prosecuted any individuals or firms in connection with the attempted shipments, however.

A nine-minute documentary about the daily activities of a group of teenage boys surviving in an infamous e-scrap dumping ground in Ghana has been moving across the Web recently. The film is called "Regolith" and was created by Image Fiction Films.

A story in the U.K.-based Guardian recently delved into the range of technologies being developed by researchers and companies around the globe to try to make the valuable components inside of mobile devices more easily recoverable once the gadgets reach end-of-life. The story details modular phone concepts from Google as well as a group called Clever in the U.K. Another intriguing development is the EU's Associated European Research and Technology Organisations (AERTOs) project, which is developing systems to separate mobile device components using water, chlorine and even mushrooms.

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Certification scorecard

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:27
Certification scorecard

Oct. 9, 2014

With the roster of companies attaining third-party certifications or audits continuing to grow, E-Scrap News has compiled a roundup of the firms announcing certification this past week.

Bargain Bytes of Sioux Falls, South Dakota has achieved the following certifications: e-Stewards, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and R2: 2013.

The Frederick, Maryland-based firm e-End is now certified to ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and R2:2013.

T3 Office Recycling Solutions of Rancho Cordova, California is now certified to ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and R2:2013.

A1 Shredding and Recycling, Inc. of Marietta, Georgia; Access of Chico, California; Access of Madison, Wisconsin; Blue-Pencil Mobile Shredding, Inc. of Oakville, Ontario; Business Records Management, Inc. of Clearwater, Florida; Commonwealth Document Management, Inc. of Danville, Virginia; Infoshred LLC of East Windsor, Connecticut; Lower Shore Enterprises, Inc. of Salisbury, Maryland; MARCK Recycling of SWMO, LLC of Republic, Missouri; Montana Records Management, LLP of Helena, Montana; Norfolk Disposal of Waterford, Ontario; Piranha Paper Shredding LLC of Neenah, Wisconsin; Proshred Security of Clearwater, Florida; Proshred Security of Raleigh, North Carolina; Shred Masters of Ogden, Utah; Sugar House Archives & Shred of Salt Lake City; Texas Security Shredding of Houston; and Total Destruction of Alamogordo, New Mexico have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

Also, Supply-Chain Services, Inc. (SSI) of Lombard, Illinois has renewed their NAID Certifications for Computer Hard Drive Sanitization and Physical Destruction of Hard Drives

E-Scrap News has added OHSAS 18001 and NAID AAA into its certification directory, as well as moved the directory online. If your firm recently completed these certifications, a CHWMEG audit or an ISO 9001, ISO 14001, R2, RIOS or e-Stewards certification, e-mail dleif@resource-recycling.com to be included in this section and in E-Scrap News' directory. The full directory is available at www.tinyurl.com/Certified-E-scrap.

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E-Scrap 2014: Get up to speed on CRTs

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:22
E-Scrap 2014: Get up to speed on CRTs

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Oct. 9, 2014

Discussion of downstream options for CRT glass —— and the associated pricing —— has consumed the electronics recycling industry for several years, and at E-Scrap 2014, the CRT debate will get its due treatment.

To help clarify the current situation and anticipate where it's headed, the conference will offer a full rundown of the North American processors still standing and those hoping to get in on the notoriously narrow-margin market. Distinguishing "established" and "emerging" operations, as well as pointing out who's amassing stock versus who's actually processing it, conference presentations and discussions will provide attendees with a complete picture of the CRT landscape.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek. Get all the latest information at e-scrapconference.com.


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NewsBits

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:18
NewsBits

Oct. 9, 2014

E-scrap reclaimers can blame weak precious metals prices for the slump in the value of scrap printed wiring board. Gold is at a four-year low in terms of price, silver has fallen to a 52-month low and palladium is at a five-year bottom. Commodity investors are pushing down prices because of a fear the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates (higher interest rates typically dampen the demand for metals such as gold). In addition, the continuing improvement in the U.S. economy, coupled with a strong dollar, lowers the desire for investors to put money into protective assets, such as precious metals.

After a string of late-summer fatalities at U.S. recycling facilities, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has declared Oct. 15 Safety Stand-Down Day and is encouraging firms and employees to dedicate time on that date to focus on safety education. "Since early August, we have suffered at least 11 fatalities and multiple critical injuries at facilities owned by, or associated with, ISRI members and at some non-ISRI member owned facilities," the group said in a press release. "This is a disturbing trend that must be stopped."

Apple has released a tool that allows prospective buyers of used Apple devices to check to make sure the product in question has not been marked lost or stolen by a previous owner. Apple had previously installed an Activation Lock function on devices that required a user to enter a code once the lock was activated, but hackers found a way to circumvent that system.

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EPA seeks input on key e-scrap issues

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:36
EPA seeks input on key e-scrap issues

By Jerry Powell, E-Scrap News

Sept. 30, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency convened a meeting of some 50 key electronics recycling parties last week near Washington, D.C. to receive advice and input. The meeting — the first "EPA Summit on Electronics" since 2005 — included representatives of original equipment manufacturers, states, nonprofit organizations, e-scrap reclaimers and trade groups.

The two-day session focused on two concerns. EPA sought input on CRT recycling management, including a review of how obsolete CRTs are being handled and how current and future problems can be addressed. Included at the meeting were executives from major CRT processors, including Closed Loop Refining and Recovery, Kuusakoski, Nulife Glass and Universal Recycling Technologies.

The stakeholder group assessed the current CRT recycling landscape, with attention focused on collection and handling practices by e-scrap firms and others. The attendees then analyzed the advantages and challenges associated with different CRT recycling options, including use of CRT glass in ceramics and concrete; the recovery of lead from CRTs in de-leading furnaces and lead and copper smelters; the chemical extraction of the lead through leaching; and CRT reuse. Discussion also centered on the use of CRT glass as alternative daily cover in landfills and the storage of CRTs in monofills.

The general consensus generated at the meeting is that obsolete CRTs are backing up in the current recovery system and additional abandoned stockpiles may occur. Some participants urged EPA to adopt a more forceful position in terms of its "speculative accumulation" rule and to increase its regulatory efforts with states to address any future problems.

The participants then generated a set of recommendations for future government-industry efforts in CRT and hazardous materials management, including the development of best practices guidance and new permitting standards for legitimate long-term CRT storage. The stakeholders at the meeting recommended that this work be expanded to include hazardous materials management issues arising from the processing of copiers and flat-panel displays.

The second focus of the meeting was sustainable electronics. Much of the discussion targeted two issues: design of electronics for reuse, repair and recycling, and better ways to determine what makes a firm a "good recycler." In terms of the first concern, the group recommended a number of government and industry actions take place involving electronics designers, software producers and e-scrap reclaimers. For the second issue, the participants want to see a mass-balance tracking system for recyclable materials developed and sample model contract language generated for those wanting to assure environmentally sound recycling.

EPA is eager to get input from others on the Summit recommendations. Agency officials are inviting those interested in CRT management to an open meeting on Oct. 23 in Orlando from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at a session immediately following the E-Scrap 2014 conference. This will be followed by a sustainable electronics open meeting at the hotel from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. To sign up for these free sessions, here.

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E-Scrap 2014: Attack of the tablets

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:33
E-Scrap 2014: Attack of the tablets

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Sept. 30, 2014

As gadgets have transitioned from our desks to our laps to our hands, processors and refurbishers have had to deal with new challenges to effectively dismantle or repair.

At E-Scrap 2014, a number of presentations will help attendees better understand how form factor changes are having an impact on the used electronics sector. Presenters will also offer potential solutions in product design and repairability.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. The 2013 edition saw more than 1,300 attendees and 125 exhibiting companies. Get all the latest information and register to attend here.

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Creative Recycling Systems founder Jon Yob breaks his silence

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:31
Creative Recycling Systems founder Jon Yob breaks his silence

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Sept. 30, 2014

After a multimillion dollar lawsuit was dismissed late last week, the founder of a troubled East Coast e-scrap firm has gone on the offensive.

In a 10-paragraph statement issued to E-Scrap News, Jon Yob, the founder and former CEO and president of Creative Recycling Systems (CRS), lays the blame for the recent collapse of his former firm at the feet of Intersection One LLC, the investor group that purchased CRS from Yob in 2012.

"Things didn't work as they promised," Yob writes. "The company slowly came apart — for many reasons."

Yob was until recently being sued by Intersection One for allegedly overstating the value of CRS at the time of the acquisition in 2012. That lawsuit, court records show, was dismissed "without prejudice of all claims alleged or asserted" on Sept. 26.

In his statement, which was issued in the wake of the suit dismissal, Yob asserts that Rick Bates, the CEO installed by Intersection One, "had absolutely no recycling industry experience" and that a series of bad business decisions were made "without my approval." Yob claims "the purchase contract [between himself and Intersection One] clearly stated that any changes would need my consent."

Yob adds the company's abandonment of "an industry-leading technique to process and recycle CRT glass" led to "millions of pounds of unprocessed CRT glass sitting in warehouses."

A recent report indicated more than 30 million pounds of CRT glass are being held at CRS sites in six states.

The legal team for Intersection One did not return a request for comment on Yob's assertions.

The Intersection One suit alleged that Yob misrepresented the value of CRS when the firm was sold. "Defendants led the Investors to believe that CRS was a profitable, large-scale, stable company with healthy cash flow," the lawsuit read. "What Defendants failed to disclose to the Investors was that this depiction of CRS was premised upon abject, widespread and systemic fraud."

According to the lawsuit, Yob claimed his company was worth $55 million, while its true value was "approximately $20 million."

Yob now claims he was the one misled. "In 2013, I reinvested some of my own money into Creative Recycling based on representations the group made to me," he states in his recent comments. "Turns out, those representations weren't accurate."

Asked whether he would file a lawsuit against Intersection One, Yob told E-Scrap News, "All legal options remain on the table."

CRS as a company still faces struggles. In a separate lawsuit, a Florida-based bank has sued the company for almost $19 million it says it is owed. Creative has since gone into receivership and filed for bankruptcy as it looks to close locations and sell off any salvageable assets.

The company operated three processing locations and numerous e-scrap collection hubs, most of which were concentrated throughout the East Coast.

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Wide world of e-scrap

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:27
Wide world of e-scrap

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Sept. 30, 2014

UK regulators issue fines for end-of-life electronics that were bound for Africa. That story leads our global look at the industry.

A total of 11 containers of e-scrap bound for Africa were recently intercepted at UK ports by the Environment Agency. The containers, which were said to carry mostly old television sets, have been linked to a handful of Tyneside companies who either failed to label the items for reuse or deliberately attempted to ship off the devices without paying for "proper end-of-life treatment." Six individuals have been fined about $5,700 in all.

Rwanda appears to be on the verge of developing its own e-scrap policy. An environmental fund will contribute $1.3 million to help the African nation organize a national e-scrap strategy, and plans are also in place to fund the building of an e-scrap processing center.

Computer maker Dell has agreed on a 5-year deal with the United Nations to develop e-scrap recycling infrastructure in Africa, Asia and Latin America. According to a report by Forbes, the partners will aim to build processing sites in each region to handle e-scrap, although financial terms of the alignment and potential investment have not been disclosed.

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Certification scorecard

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:25
Certification scorecard

Sept. 30, 2014

With the roster of companies attaining third-party certifications or audits continuing to grow, E-Scrap News has compiled a roundup of the firms announcing certification this past week.

ZRG LLC of Carlsbad, California is now certified to the R2:2013 and RIOS standards.

EnviroShred NW of Portland, Oregon; Proshred Security of Albany, New York; Shred Guard (serving Atlantic Canada) of Saint John, New Brunswick; Shredall Ltd. of Nottingham, England; and Shred Doc Destr dba Balcones Shred of Austin, Texas have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

Also, EPC's E-Scrap Processing Center of Earth City, Missouri has renewed their NAID Certification for Computer Hard Drive Sanitization as well as Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

E-Scrap News has added OHSAS 18001 and NAID AAA into its certification directory, as well as moved the directory online. If your firm recently completed these certifications, a CHWMEG audit or an ISO 9001, ISO 14001, R2, RIOS or e-Stewards certification, e-mail dleif@resource-recycling.com to be included in this section and in E-Scrap News' directory. The full directory is available at www.tinyurl.com/Certified-E-scrap.

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E-Scrap 2014: Connect with all the key vendors

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:22
E-Scrap 2014: Connect with all the key vendors

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Sept. 30, 2014

The bustling trade show hall at E-Scrap 2014 will feature more than 100 leading industry companies that can take your business to new levels. And by connecting with potential partners and suppliers in one spot, you save valuable time and resources.

Exhibiting companies include electronics scrap processors, buyers and brokers, equipment manufacturers, waste haulers, industry trade associations and more. In addition, the trade show at E-Scrap 2014 will open a day earlier than in years past. The hall will open Tuesday, Oct. 21, and hours that initial day will be 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The hall will also be open for all your networking needs on Wednesday, Oct. 22 and Thursday, Oct. 23.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. The 2013 edition saw more than 1,300 attendees and 125 exhibiting companies, so plan now to secure your spot at this fall's conference. Get all the latest information at e-scrapconference.com.


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NewsBits

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:18
NewsBits

Sept. 30, 2014

Newfoundland and Labrador's newly installed e-scrap program recently faced criticism after an 2013 annual report detailed a surplus of more than $1.7 million in the consumer-funded initiative. Program director Terry Green has responded to the heat by telling local news outlet VOCM that the program, which launched in August of 2013, is just beginning to gain steam this year, with funds directly feeding that increased recycling activity.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) this week posted a blog entry outlining some of the work the federal agency has done assessing the potential hazards at e-scrap facilities across the country. NIOSH representatives found possible overexposure to lead and cadmium among workers handling CRT de-manufacturing as well as toxic metals existing outside typical processing areas. The blog post follows a more formal report on e-scrap processing hazards NIOSH released this summer.

With its share price now at just a fraction of a penny, publicly traded E-Waste Systems has doubled its share count. The firm, which offers e-scrap processing in Ohio and New York, now has authorized a total of 3 billion common stock shares after adding 1.5 billion late last week. At press time, about 426 million shares are outstanding, leaving more than 2.5 billion up for grabs.

SERI, the housing body for the R2 environmental e-scrap recycling standard, recently announced two new members to its R2 Recycling Leader Program: Oracle and the Reverse Logistics Sustainability Council. Entities in the Leader Program make a commitment to support sustainable electronics recycling as well as consider R2 certification when choosing a recycling partner.

Asserting that "additional action is needed" on e-scrap exports, defense and computer technology experts wrote an op-ed published in Capitol Hill news source Roll Call. The article urges federal legislators to address the problem of used e-scrap parts ending up in ostensibly new defense machinery and weapons. The three writers of the op-ed — Henry Livingston, Tom Sharpe and Jim Burger — offered a similar viewpoint earlier this year at a Congressional briefing.

Marketing firm WarpSpeed, which operates the Force Multiply Gaming brand, has become an e-Stewards enterprise. The move is being framed by e-Stewards and Warpspeed as a first step toward getting the gaming industry on board to drive e-scrap recycling. "The video game industry has an opportunity to lead a critical cultural shift with respect to the replacement and proper handling of used electronics," writes Lou Raiola, founder and CEO of WarpSpeed, in the announcement. "E-Stewards is the best in class certification to ensure that e-waste is recycled ethically by responsible certified recyclers."

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Best Buy pledges to double e-scrap collection

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:53
Best Buy pledges to double e-scrap collection

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Sept. 26, 2014

Best Buy recently reached a major e-scrap recycling milestone, and the company's sustainability chief says the retailer intends to significantly grow collection totals moving forward.

Best Buy announced it has taken in 1 billion pounds of end-of-life electronics and large appliances in the past six years. For a bit of perspective, that total is roughly equivalent to the amount the entire state of California collected through the first six years of its consumer-funded e-scrap program.

What's more, Best Buy thinks it can collect 2 billion pounds of e-scrap and appliances in the next six years, through continuing to offer free recycling services at 1,400 stores throughout the U.S.

"We're selling the products and we need to be part of the solution as well," Scott Weislow, senior director of environmental services at Best Buy, told E-Scrap News. "We are ready, we are committed to it. ... I don't foresee any reason why we would have any hiccups getting to that next 2 billion pound mark."

Though traditionally thought of as a retailer, Best Buy is also one of the nation's largest original equipment manufacturers because it owns and sells the Insignia electronics brand.

As an OEM, Best Buy is required to collect and recycle electronics in about half the states in the U.S. and a good chunk of what the retailer collects goes toward those obligations. "Everything that's in the covered electronics category we count," Weislow said, adding that the company "fulfills our obligations hands down, no question."

Best Buy's two e-scrap partners are Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) and Regency Technologies. Sims Recycling Solutions, Weislow confirmed, is no longer a partner of the company. Sims has recently closed several facilities in North America in an effort to streamline operations and focus more on corporate accounts.

By weight, CRT devices continue to dominate the Best Buy e-scrap collection stream, and the glass from those products ends up either going to glass-to-glass recycling firm Videocon in India or to Ohio's Dlubak operation, which blends leaded glass into "a variety of things, from ornamental glass fixtures to insulation to road-grade materials," Weislow said.

While CRT tonnages have not begun to decrease, Weislow says he thinks the plateau is on the horizon. "I think we will see a shift," Weislow said. "I think we're going to end up seeing more phones and tablets … and I think we'll see more desktops as people go more and more to tablets and laptops and notebooks. And I think we'll see TVs diminish over time. It's not going to happen overnight — I think we're still a few years out before we start seeing much of a decline — but it's coming for sure."

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E-Scrap 2014: Can't-miss sessions

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:51
E-Scrap 2014: Can't-miss sessions

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Sept. 26, 2014

E-Scrap 2014 is just around the corner, and if you're still looking for motivation to register, just turn your attention to the conference's four headlining plenary sessions.

On Oct. 22, the leaders of five of the most important e-scrap firms in the country share their insights on the top industry challenges and the solutions they're pioneering. Next up that morning is a session that will dissect CRT recycling from three different angles, offering attendees the most complete picture possible on the CRT market today and what it might look like tomorrow.

Oct. 23 features a plenary session on e-scrap flows and where the scrap electronics of yesteryear are headed today. Later, attendees will hear from experts in the rare earth and critical metals space and learn how those sectors are evolving.

E-Scrap 2014 will be held Oct. 21-23 at Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek. The 2013 edition saw more than 1,300 attendees and 125 exhibiting companies. Get all the latest information on this year's conference at e-scrapconference.com.


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EPA indicates landfill cover is not CRT recycling

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:48
EPA indicates landfill cover is not CRT recycling

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Sept. 26, 2014

The federal EPA has clarified its regulatory stance on whether leaded glass destined for tile manufacturing or landfill cover should be considered recycling.

In separate letters dated Sept. 10 and uploaded onto the agency's website, Barnes Johnson, the director of the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, addresses the use of CRT glass as alternative daily cover (ADC) and as a flux and lead oxide in making ceramic tiles.

According to those letters, the ADC option is considered legitimate disposal while the tile option is legitimate recycling.

"Hazardous waste, such as CRT glass, that has been treated … and that no longer exhibits hazardous characteristics may be disposed in a landfill," Johnson writes in the ADC letter. On the tile front, the agency states, "Based on the provided information, the EPA finds the legitimate recycling factors set forth in EPA policy … appear to have been met."

The letters are addressed to two of the biggest names in the end-of-life electronics game: The ADC letter was sent to Sony, and the tile letter was sent to Sims Recycling Solutions, the electronics recycling wing of publicly traded Sims Metal Management. Sony had asked the agency for clarification on the ADC front, while SRS had requested clarification on the tile option.

It's significant that the tile process received an OK to be deemed recycling while landfill cover is only considered "disposal."

Both ADC and and tile applications are seen as emerging downstream applications for CRT glass, which has become increasingly burdensome for e-scrap firms. Consumers worldwide have moved to non-CRT technologies so glass-to-glass markets for recycling firms have eroded, but the backlog of old monitors and TV sets continues to head into the e-scrap recycling stream.

While the EPA's two letters noted the authority of states to set forth "more stringent" regulatory policies than those asserted by the federal agency, states are likely to refer to the EPA letters for guidance on policy making in the CRT arena.

Kuusakoski U.S. is the only company currently offering the CRT-to-ADC option in North America, partnering with a landfill located in Peoria, Illinois. The process, according to the company, seals the lead within the glass to prevent leaching and then is spread on top of a landfill as ADC.  A Vermont-based firm also looked into the option.

Some states have already concluded the option is not recycling and therefore does not count toward manufacturer recycling goals. In addition, the R2 e-scrap environmental standard has banned the use of CRT glass as ADC. The other certification standard, e-Stewards, meanwhile, allows it as a "last resort," but does not deem it recycling.

The tile option, which will perhaps now get more play, has been looked at for some time both in the U.S. and abroad. Sims' inquiry, E-Scrap News has learned, was related to a Spanish firm, Camacho Recycling, which has been pushing for U.S. glass to process and use in the manufacturing of ceramic tiles. Com2 Recycling, an Illinois-based firm, is also expected to come on-line with its own CRT-to-tile operation in the coming weeks.

Both ADC and tile manufacture have been raised as plausible alternatives to the standard, and often pricey, processing options currently available to U.S. firms, namely North American lead smelting and "glass-to-glass" recycling in India. While estimates vary widely, as much a 400,000 tons of CRT glass are expected to hit the waste stream each year until 2022.

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Wide world of e-scrap recycling

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:44
Wide world of e-scrap recycling

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Sept. 26, 2014

One market research group says the global e-scrap business will grow at a nearly 15 percent clip in coming years, and European metals refiners determine a set of e-scrap handling guidelines.

A new report by Sandler Research suggests the global e-scrap market will show a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent between 2013 and 2018. "The intense need to reduce toxins discharged from unattended e-waste has forced governments and vendors to invest in the market," Sandler says.

A group of metals refiners in Europe has collaborated with the European Electronics Recyclers Association and a metals association to come up with a set of standard practices for proper treatment of end-of-life electronics. The pact, set to go into effect in two years, has been signed by Aurubis, Boliden, Glencore and Umicore and the quartet hopes more companies will join in on the environmentally-focused cause.

A major telecommunications player in the Philippines is now offering free recycling of a host of electronics. Globe Telecom, under its new Phone 1 project, will accept consumer and business electronics and send them to TES-AMM for recycling — the goal of the program is to divert more materials in the Philippine e-scrap stream, which is growing quickly as citizens purchase and upgrade their electronics.


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