SIMS CEO offers insight
SIMS CEO offers insight
At the recently-concluded Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries convention in Los Angeles, Graham Davy, CEO of Sims Recycling Solutions, provided a broad assessment of contemporary e-scrap trends and issues.
SRS has over 2,000 employees at 89 plants worldwide, with annual throughput topping 550,000 tons. The firm spent $75 million last year in expanding its footprint, including the establishment of a CRT glass processing line in Ontario.
Davy sees many global challenges in the e-scrap industry, including insufficient smelter capacity for today’s recovery levels. Davy also suggested that the lack of clear commodity definitions is a continuing barrier, as is the leakage of high-value reusable units away from mandated recovery programs. He also told the audience that producer e-scrap recovery schemes are pushing prices down because program administrators possess significant negotiating power. The biggest need outlined in his remarks, however, is consistent standards and regulations for e-scrap with sufficient governmental enforcement. "Good regulation and robust enforcement is the only solution for a level playing field," Davy said. "That’s all the recycling industry wants."
Davy was clear in his recommendation for what’s needed in the U.S. – that we embrace a national e-waste policy and then develop consumer acceptance for a recycling fee. Under such a plan, Davy envisions equipment producers would be involved in paying for recycling costs and government would enforce program standards, as well as monitor and control illegal exports.
The SRS head was clearly against exports to poorly operated processing plants in developing countries. He said his firm audits its vendors, and he noted that only ten percent of those audited in China for their plastics recycling operations passed muster. He sees such actions as needed. "Sustainable recycling isn’t cheap. I could make more money if I turned a blind eye to best practices," he concluded.
For Davy, the future seems clear. "Consolidation will continue," he said, suggesting "innovation and sustainable recycling are also in our future." Davy closed his remarks by predicting that cost dynamics will be increasingly governed by the future commodity outlook, the power of original equipment makers, the rising need for secure data destruction and the short life cycle of new products.
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