Arrow exec explains decision to join CAER

Arrow exec explains decision to join CAER

By Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

Dec. 13, 2013

The Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) recently announced that Arrow Value Recovery officially joined the group in its effort to pass the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA).

While it may seem odd for a global e-scrap player to support a bill limiting exports of e-scrap, an Arrow VP said in practice such legislation aligns with the firm's business model and makes economic sense for the industry.

"By having e-scrap de-manufactured within the U.S., [RERA] will mitigate U.S. data security risks, add jobs, allow the U.S. to repurpose precious metals, and through responsibly recycling, will actually increase U.S. exports," Tim Kolbus, Arrow's vice president of global logistics services, said in an interview with E-Scrap News. "By de-manufacturing e-scrap to commodities such as copper and plastics that can be exported, it ensures the U.S. has done its part in reintroducing this product back into manufacturing."

Arrow operates nine facilities in the U.S., six facilities in Europe and one in Brazil, which is not a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). RERA restricts exports of e-scrap to non-OECD nations.

But Kolbus said that RERA, which was re-introduced to Congress in July after a previous version failed to move forward, would not affect movement of materials within Arrow because the company does not move e-scrap from U.S. facilities to those in other nations.

Still, the decision by Arrow to align with CAER was notable for other reasons, including the fact that the firm is a member of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which has repeatedly objected to the passing of RERA. A number of other ISRI firms have also joined CAER, but Arrow is among the biggest of that bunch.

In total, CAER now has 129 companies and organizations signed on, and analysis by E-Scrap News shows that approximately 22 CAER supporters are also ISRI members.

Kolbus noted that Arrow, a company that has aggressively entered the IT asset management space in recent years, sees value in being part of both ISRI and CAER. "A tremendous amount of change has occurred in the ITAD industry since Arrow began acquiring companies," Kolbus said, "and we think it's important we participate in both organizations to help guide the industry forward. We see more commonalities than differences between the two organizations."

This summer the company announced it was beginning the process of applying e-Stewards certification, administered by the Basel Action Network, to all Arrow facilities worldwide. Kolbus, however, said the partnership between Arrow and e-Stewards had no bearing on the decision to join CAER.

"Arrow has always been a leader in the electronics industry and has guided innovation forward by working with governing bodies and industry organizations that support our strategy," Kolbus said. "Our customers entrust us with ensuring all data is erased from their equipment and product is responsibly recycled. Unfortunately, others in the industry do not do this and U.S. citizens are not aware of the risks."

CAER also announced this week that 12 members of the U.S. House of Representatives added their names to RERA, meaning 18 House members are now co-sponsors. Interestingly, 10 of the 12 new co-sponsors are Republicans.

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