Environmental officials in Pennsylvania say manufacturers aren’t paying enough to ensure collected electronics are getting recycled.
“The issue here is that the reimbursements being provided by manufacturers are not aligning with the actual costs to recycle the items,” Amanda Whitman, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), told E-Scrap News.
Under Pennsylvania’s e-scrap program, which went into full effect in 2012 and covers computers, computer peripherals and TVs, manufacturers are required to pay “for recycling the amount of covered devices that have an equivalent weight to what they sold two years prior,” Whitman explained.
Recently, the amount of collected material has exceeded those goals and the DEP has had to “work with recyclers and manufacturers to ensure the excess material was appropriately managed.”
Several other states have experienced similar challenges in over-collection of materials, including New Jersey and Wisconsin.
In some instances, Whitman says manufacturers in Pennsylvania are “selecting to exclude CRTs in their collections and rely on other materials that have positive value to meet their required weight goal under the act.”
Whitman told E-Scrap News “manufacturers should include all covered devices in their plan.”
A story featured in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania newspaper Public Opinion highlighted some of the challenges faced by collectors and intermediary recycling firms stuck with CRTs to recycle and no manufacturer funds to cover the costs.
Doug Smith, Sony’s director of Corporate, Environment Safety and Health, told E-Scrap News, “Sony operates a compliant system in Pennsylvania.”
“Sony operated a CRT recycling facility in conjunction with its TV manufacturing plant just outside of Pittsburgh for years and has put considerable effort into continuing proper recycling of CRTs through strategic contracts,” Smith said in a statement.
According to Smith, “the problems described in the [Public Opinion] article are very common in many of the states with take-back laws with the exception of California.”
California is the only state electronics recycling program to be funded through point-of-sale consumer fees for new products. All other state programs, including Pennsylvania’s, are funded directly by manufacturers of covered products.