Waste Expo opens with e-scrap focus

Waste Expo opens with e-scrap focus

By Henry Leineweber

The annual Waste Expo convention kicked off this week in Dallas, Texas with a workshop on electronics recycling. While the conference and expo are predominantly focused on municipal solid waste hauling, recycling and composting, approximately 200 attendees met for a session addressing electronics recycling trends, laws and processing.

After opening remarks and an industry overview by Jerry Powell, president of E-Scrap News’ parent company Resource Recycling, Inc. and Jason Linnell of the National Center for Electronics Recycling outlined some of the benefits and challenges of the growth of e-scrap legislation across the country.

“It’s great that we now have 25 state programs,” explained Linnell, “but unfortunately no two of those are alike.” Differences between programs include the types of materials covered, although Linnell explained most cover computer monitors and laptops, as well as differences between compliance mechanisms, landfill bans and funding schemes.

Robert Landmesser of AERC Recycling Solutions closed the panel with a call for greater environmental responsibility in e-scrap processing and the potential value of reclaimed material. According to Landmesser, companies have various incentives to manage electronic scrap responsibly, not the least of which is to ensure they are not liable for any downstream hazardous waste violations or data security breaches.

“There’s no reason these materials have to go to landfill,” said Landmesser, explaining financial incentives for electronics recovery. “Electronics are full of copper, gold, palladium, other precious metals - there’s significant value in recovering these materials if you do it right.”

The panel wrapped up with questions from the audience, most of which focused on the differences and relative merits of the various certification programs currently available.

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