Artículos - Noticias breves
Taiwan mandates mobile phone and optical disk recycling
As a result of federal action in early April, residents of Taiwan can be fined as much as $184 ($US) if they put cell phones, CDs and DVDs in the trash. The obsolete items will be collected from homeowners by municipal crews as part of regular recycling pick-up service.
Model legislation released
After more than a year, a collaborative legislative project in the Northeast has produced a model state e-scrap bill. The regional measure was developed by a large stakeholder group brought together by the Northeast Recycling Council (Brattleboro, Vermont) and the eastern office of the Council of State Governments (New York).
The model measure focuses on the recovery of computers and TVs used by residents. OEMs would pay a $5,000 annual fee to the state for the cost of state program management. An OEM could operate a take-back program to meet its recycling obligation, or pay a recycling fee to the state for its portion of the cost of attaining the state recycling goal (the portion would be determined by sales market share). The state would then provide funding for local collection and processing initiatives.
The bill focuses on producer responsibility because state legislators in the region voiced their opposition to a sales fee to fund recycling, as in California. The model bill prohibits end-of-life fees. A disposal ban would begin two years after the recycling program started.
The bill does not bar exports of e-scrap to developing countries, prohibit shipment of recovered items to prison recycling factories or require that new producers phase out the use of toxic constituents, as mandated in Europe and elsewhere.
Dell wants to triple recovery volumes
The world's largest producer of computers wants to triple the amount of e-scrap collected for reuse and recycling by 2009.
Dell (Round Rock, Texas) recovered nearly 40,000 tons of product for reuse and recycling from its customers and in its own operations. More than half of this volume came from customers. Dell's recovery volumes rose 72 percent in the past year. The computer maker launched recycling systems in China and Latin America in the past year.
Last year more than 40 percent of recovered products were from commercial accounts and an additional 15 percent or so was from lease returns. More than 25 percent came from product returns and exchanges within 30 days of sale, and less than 10 percent came from consumers who bought a new computer and recycled an obsolete unit.
Prison management faulted in report
A federal investigator has determined that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) did not address important health and safety concerns raised by a manager of one of its e-scrap recycling plants.
Scott Bloch, an attorney with the Office of the Special Counsel, concluded that the whistle-blower claims by Leroy Smith, a manager at the UNICOR plant in Atwater, California, were not addressed sufficiently by BOP management. Bloch says that the Bureau's investigation, which included the production of two reports addressing Smith's claims, was cursory at best.
Smith complained that plant operations put factory workers and managers at risk in terms of exposure to lead, cadmium, barium and beryllium.
ISRI issues a best management practices guide
The board of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (Washington) has approved a best management practices (BMP) guide for e-scrap processors.
The document, developed by the organizations electronics recycling council, provides guidance for processors on how to operate an environmentally sound and safe facility. A key element of the guide is the need for processors to audit the firms to which they sell materials.
ISRI members say there's a rising call for such a guide. Amanda Hale of United Recycling (West Chicago, Illinois) feels "there's a need for a strong document."
ISRI's plan contains many features supported by other groups. For example, with the exception of a call for not working with prison e-scrap plants, the ISRI document is very similar to the U.S. EPA's Plug-In to eCycling BMP guide for federal e-scrap contractors, notes Bob Tonetti of EPA. ISRI's guide "looks very good," he says.
IEEE symposium to be held in San Francisco
The International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment and Electronics Recycling Summit is being held May 8-11 in San Francisco. This international event on the environment and recycling related to electronics presents the latest in environmental design, manufacturing, new technologies, recycling and policy. For more information visit www.iseesummit.org.