Three large electronics manufacturers are taking a proactive step in an industry screaming for action. Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba have established an electronic product recycling management company, Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC (MRM), to spearhead electronics recycling and collection in the United States. This dream team was formed to provide a recycling service to electronics manufacturers and others, including state and local governments, and to meet recent Minnesota requirements on recycling electronics.
“We believe that forming an independent company to manage collective electronic recycling programs is the best way to achieve the economies of scale and efficiencies to create a sustainable recycling system for used electronics products.” Said David Thompson, MRM president.
One very important thing the new company is striving for is to provide convenient recycling opportunities for consumers. There’s no question most people have an old TV or computer lying around that they would like to throw away but are too conscious to just toss in a landfill or dumpster. So with the work of MRM, that conundrum is solved. It already seems MRM is making some waves. According to Brad Moore, the commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:
“In the first five months since Minnesota’s new electronic recycling law took effect, MRM collected approximately 750 tons of used products – a significant amount.”
Below is a section of Minnesota’s new law, which I believe all states should adopt. …a manufacturer must comply with the following requirements:
(a) A manufacturer must annually recycle or arrange for the collection and recycling of an amount equal to the percentage of the total weight of covered electronic devices sold by the manufacturer during the preceding program year, as established by the agency under section 115A.1320, subdivision 1.
(b) The obligations of a manufacturer apply only to covered electronic devices received from households and do not apply to covered electronic devices received from owners other than households.
(c) A manufacturer must conduct and document due diligence assessments of collectors and recyclers it contracts with to insure that all collectors and recyclers comply with the requirements of subdivision 2. A manufacturer is responsible for documentation that all covered electronic devices recycled in downstream recycling operations comply with the requirements of subdivision 2.
Subd. 2. Recycler’s responsibilities. (a) A recycler must provide evidence to a manufacturer that the recycler has complied with the following directives with respect to covered electronic devices collected from households:
(1) all solid and hazardous waste generated from recycling covered electronic devices must be managed and processed in North America or a member county of the European Union;
(2) all circuit boards must be managed for metals recovery and processed in a smelter in North America or a member county of the European Union;
(3) any refurbishment or repair of covered electronic devices must take place in North America;
(4) all recycling facilities must possess:
(i) liability insurance of no less than $1 million for releases, accidents and other emergencies;
(ii) all licenses from applicable governing authorities;
(iii) up-to-date written plans for: environmental health and safety training for employees, hazardous materials identification and management, and reporting and responding to releases and other emergencies;
(iv) a plan for closure and a financial guarantee;
(b) Except to the extent otherwise required by law, a recycler has no responsibility for any data that may be on a covered electronic device if an information storage device is included with the device (source).
I commend Minnesota on its electronics recycling mandates and it’s nice to see corporate America stepping up at the end of a product’s life cycle. Please, offer up some of your thoughts or insights on electronics recycling and stay tuned as I learn more myself.Greener Computing via GreenBiz