The Hawaii legislature is contemplating charging consumers a recycling fee for electronics and using that money to pay for e-waste recycling centers. This would repeal the existing Product Stewardship Law from 2008.
The proposed measures, SB 2822 and companion bill HB 2560, would require retailers to pay the electronic recycling fee to the state and collect the money from consumers as the items are sold. The system has a tiered recycling fee, where consumers pay $1 for electronic devices weighing up to a pound and up to $20 for devices weighing more than 75 pounds.
If passed, consumers will pay for the recycling fee starting July 1, 2014. The bill would also create a landfill disposal ban for electronics would go into effect July 1, 2015.
The existing Electronic Waste Recycling Act requires manufacturers of covered electronic devices sold in Hawaii to come up with and implement their recycling plan. In 2010, 3,235,432 pounds of ewaste was recycled, or 2.38 pounds per capita. In comparison, successful programs such as CA or Oregon has above a 5 pounds per capita recycling rate.
With the start of the new year, we are seeing states posting their e-waste recycling volume and rates. So far, Minnesota, Washington and New Jersey have released data for 2011 program year.
Minnesota's numbers have stagnated with 33 million pounds recovered while Washington and New Jersey both have seen increases in collection rate.
New Jersey collected approximately 40 million pounds a e-waste, a five-fold increase in e-waste tonnage over the approximately 8 million pounds collected in 2010. Washington saw a 6% increase from 2010, collecting 42.2 million pounds of covered electronics in 2011.
As states e-waste programs mature, we see the department making recommendations on how to improve the program. Minnesota's recommendation to the Legislature included expand the scope of the program to include more devices such as printers, digital video recorders, set-top TV boxes, video game consoles and DVD players.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently released its annual report on electronics recycling, showing that the amount of e-waste recycled has remained steady. About 33 million pounds of covered electronics were recycled, translating to a statewide per capita collection rate of 6.2 pounds.
The Electronics Recycling Act of 2007 established producer responsibility requirements for manufacturers of video display devices, computers, fax machines, DVD players, video cassette recorders and various other electronics. There are now 229 registered collectors in the state and 77 registered recyclers.
The report also included 6 recommendations for legislative considerations to improve the program :
Effective January 1, 2012, private and public waste haulers in New York state are no longer allowed to disposed of e-waste in the landfill. Solid or hazardous waste management facilities are prohibited from accepting e-waste. Then, starting January 1, 2015, consumers will be prohibited from e-waste disposal as well.
This is the result of the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act, passed in 2010. The comprehensive e-waste bill established free e-waste recycling for consumers, schools, municipalities, small businesses, and small non-profits, since April 1st, 2011.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is charged with overseeing the implementation of the law, which shifts the end-of-life costs of managing e-waste from local communities to product manufacturers. For more information on the disposal ban, visit the Department of Environmental Conservation online.
USA Today News examines the growing trend where states are banning the disposal of electronics.
Electronics can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. In 2010, Americans threw 1.8 million tons of e-waste into the landfill, according to the US EPA.
Seventeen states have banned electronic waste from landfills, requiring it to be recycled so its toxic materials don't leach into groundwater. Seven of these bans took effect this year with Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, New York (for businesses), North Carolina, South Carolina and Vermont. Two more will take effect soon: Illinois in January 2012 and Pennsylvania in January 2013.
"The disposal bans are starting to kick in," says Barbara Kyle of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, which promotes recycling. She says most are part of broader e-waste laws that increase recycling options.
Disposal bans by itself are not effective because consumers who do not have access to convenient recycling options will likely throw the devices in the landfill. Fortunately, there are 25 states that have passed e-waste recycling laws, 15 of which include disposal bans. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have independent bans.
Check out where you can recycle your electronics.
Recently, a coalition of recyclers have formed in support of a federal legislation to ban export of e-waste, citing that we are exporting jobs in the process.
For example, an Austin, Texas-based electronic-waste recycling company wants to build a new facility in Kyle, Texas, that would create 180 jobs over the next few years.
Image Microsystems wants to build the plant so it can turn e-waste into materials used for street and highway signs, according to the American-Statesman. Liz Walker, the company's vice president of marketing and business development, was trying to find a market for its recycled e-waste, when conversation with officials from the Texas Department of Transportation informed her of the need for a cheaper, greener alternative to aluminum.
"Our material is superior to aluminum, it costs 30 percent less than aluminum, and people won't steal it because it isn't aluminum," Walker said.
Image Microsystems will hire 131 full-time employees next year and 50 more in 2013.
Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson says, "Image Microsystems not only brings quality jobs into Kyle, but also brings in a company with a strong sense of community and a commitment to the environment."
Starting January 1, 2012 Illionians can no longer throw out electronics in the landfill. This is in accordance with Illinois' Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, signed by Governor Quinn in August 2011, which banned 17 electronics items.
US EPA estimates that 85% of electronics are currently not recycled; these items contain mined materials that can be reclaimed, reused and recycled. Recycling rather than dumping these items saves resources and creates jobs, many of them right here in the US.
The law requires manufacturers to pay the cost of recycling. Residents using drop-off sites will not be charged.
The following are no longer allowed in the landfill, starting January 1, 2012:
Televisions, Electronic Keyboards, Video Game Consoles, Digital Converter Boxes, Monitors,
Facsimile Machines, Electronic Mice, Videocassette Recorders, Printers, Scanners, Small Scale Servers, Portable Digital Music Players, Cable Receivers, Satellite Receivers, Computers (including desktop /laptop/tablet), Digital Video Disc Recorders & Players.
Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources reported that in year 2 of the program, more than 35 million pounds of electronic waste was recycled between July 2010 and June 2011. This is equivalent to 6.2 pounds per capita and shows a great improvement from year 1's collection of 3.7 lbs/person. TVs and computer monitors made up most of the collection (84 percent).
Wisconsin Electronic Recycling Bill became effective January 2010, and bans certain electronics from landfills while requiring that electronics manufacturers fund an e-waste recycling program for households and schools. Those collecting the e-waste must register with the state’s E-Cycle program. There are currently almost 400 permanent collection sites in Wisconsin.
According to the report, many recyclers have reported being able to expand their facilities or hire new workers because of increased volumes from E-Cycle Wisconsin and similar programs in neighboring states. Local governments have greatly reduced their electronics collection costs, and some have been able to get out of the electronics collection business because enough private options are available to serve their residents.
We live in a world where we're constantly receiving the message that it makes more sense to dispose of rather than restore our old appliance. Our society is so throw-away and fast-paced that we believe it is far too complicated and costly to repair something old.
Manufacturers lead us to believe that at the first sign of a problem we need to dump the old and shell out on a brand new appliance. However, using good preventative-maintenance and repairing your older model appliance is a great way to save money and protect the environment. (Of course, if your appliance is really old, you should factor in if replacing it would significantly reduce energy costs and water.)
To start off, make sure you understand the warranty and calculate how long you have owned your product for. You might be able to get the repair done for free. Also, skip any repair that costs more than half the price of a new product. However, some of the most common appliance problems can be fixed by replacing a part.
Regular cleaning and proper maintenance is key to keeping your appliances in working order. This includes seasonal items such as the AC and gardening tools. Don't just let them sit in the back of the garage for a year gathering dust and cobwebs and expect them to work like new. Be aware of any issues that arise and fix them before they become more serious. With the cost of appliances on the rise, give new life to your older appliances and get them back in working order.
Here are some tips:
Last Thursday, Best Buy announced that it has eliminated the $10 recycling fee for electronics items with screens to make its recycling program more convenient for customers.
Consumers can now drop off items with screens up to 32 inches for tube televisions and 60 inches for flat-panel televisions for free. In addition to TVs, consumers can recycle computer monitors, DVD players, audio and video cables, cell phones and other electronics for free. Best Buy said it only works with certified third-party electronics recyclers, which must carry either the R2 or eStewards certification.
According to their spokesperson, Kelly Groehler says, "We wanted to make it easier for consumers. We want to encourage this as much as possible."
In 2010, the company collected 83 million pounds of electronics and wants to collect more than 1 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2014.
As more businesses and states recognize the importance of recycling e-waste responsibly and domestically, the case for a national e-waste export law becomes stronger than ever. There's a e-waste export bill in Congress, Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2011, that is supported by many recyclers and retailers.