Oregon rolls out electronics recycling programme

Oregon state law requires manufacturers of certain electronic products (computers, monitors, laptops and TVs) generated by Oregon households and small businesses and organizations to provide free and convenient recycling services starting January 1, 2009.

In September 2007, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Sharp Electronics Corporation, and Toshiba America Consumer Products, LLC, jointly formed MRM to manage recycling programs on behalf of electronics manufacturers.

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (GICW), will partner with CRT Processing (Janesville, Wisconsin) in the new MRM program. Goodwill Industries will collect recycled items and deliver to CRM who in turn recycles electronic equipment to its component parts, including the regeneration of Cathode Ray Tubes into new CRT glass. This process referred to as “Glass to Clean Glass Recycling”.

CRT Processing is one of the few recyclers with the ability to clean CRT (cathode ray tube) glass in the United States to produce high-quality, furnace-ready cullet product, thereby avoiding the export of CRT glass for cleaning overseas.

This is a good start for Oregon. Obviously there is a need to expand this electronics recycling programme to all stores selling electronics. It is good to see a number of states bringing in these electronics recycling programmes.

In Europe the WEEE directive makes it very clear that an importer, rebrander or manufacturer of new electronic equipment must take responsibility for funding recycling. This can be set up as in the Oregon example or in conjunction with local council authorities who can set up collection points for consumers.

Ultimately we want to see less obsolecense built into products by manufacturers and their design teams.

New technologies cause huge amounts of waste as the old get dumped en mass. Bringing in digital TV for example is causing havoc with old TVs being thrown away faster than ever. Government has a responsibility with industry to set standards clearly from the outset for new technologies such as digital.

And we as consumers need to stop thinking that chasing the next gadget is always going to make us happy. Often it’s effect is quite the opposite! Less is good. 🙂

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