Municipal Governments Recognized For E-Waste Efforts

Several state and local governments were awarded honors in the 2012 State Electronics Challenge. This was a national contest geared at municipalities looking to reduce their electronics and find cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to dispose and recycle unwanted and unusable materials and e-waste. The contest was sponsored by the Northeast Recycling Council with financial support from electronics manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung, Sims Recycling, and the Consumer Electronics Association.

Top winners in the contest included the City of Providence Public Schools, in Rhode Island; DuPage County municipal offices, in Illinois; Manitou Springs School System, in Colorado; and Regional Technology Cooperative, in State College, Pennsylvania.

Additional awards were issues to the City of La Crosse, in Wisconsin; the Vermont Natural Resources Agency; the City of Tacoma, in Washington; and the Ohio Regional Office of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Through the combined efforts of all participating city and state agencies, the collective amount of hazardous e-waste properly disposed of and recycled exceeded one hundred and fifty tons.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Properly disposing of and recycling electronics waste is important. However, if you’re a business owner, you know how easy it is to “stockpile” outdated equipment in a storage closet because you’re not sure what to do with it! Contact your local or regional environmental and sanitation offices to learn about special e-waste disposal days and give that closet a cleaning!

Pennsylvania County Hit Recycling Record

Lancaster County, Pennsylvanie, located in the southeastern corner of the state, recently announced that for 2012 the county hit a record high waste recycling rate of forty three percent. This is the highest amount recorded for recycling of municipal solid waste for both businesses and residential residents. The boost in recycling was most apparent in the areas of food scrap and organic waste composting, metal recycling in the commercial sector, e-waste and electronics collection, and hazardous and toxic chemical waste. Lancaster County sends only two percent of its waste to regional landfills. Most bulk waste is transported to a waste-to-energy processing plant.

County administrators cite the increase in recycling is due to a collaborative effort between government officials, residents, and local businesses. Consistent outreach and education efforts targeted at improving the proper disposal of hazardous waste and electronics waste, as well as the economic value in food composting and metals recycling are starting to bring results. The county hopes that this is just the first in record breaking recycling rates and is planning for ways to increase its rate for 2013.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Recycling is a habit and like any habit, needs time and practice in order to become a daily routine. If you’re looking to save money and increasing your recycling rate, start by making small changes and getting everyone involved. Once your employees get on the recycling kick they won’t ever go back to their wasteful ways!


Electronics Waste Recycling Improves in Illinois

On January 1 of 2012 the state of Illinois imposed a ban on disposing unwanted, out dated, and broken electronic devices in state landfills. Instead, all residents and businesses would have to recycle their e-waste through special collections dates or through their party locations such as office supply store and retailers. After a full year of data collection on outcomes of the policy change, the state’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that slightly over forty two million pounds of electronic material were recycled.

In addition to residents an businesses, electronics manufacturers operating in the state of Illinois were also challenged to meet recycling goals for their materials. Of the seventy seven manufacturers, seventy two met or surpassed their stated sustainability goals. The top awards went to Hewlett-Packard (HP), Samsung, Best Buy, and Panasonic. Collective these four companies recycled almost twenty million pounds of electronic waste materials.

As a result of the participation levels, the Illinois EPA reported that the target recycling goal was surpassed by almost three million pounds. Not a bad accomplishment for the first year!

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Why pay money to dispose of you electronics waste in a landfill (if you live or work in a state where it’s still allowed) when you can save money and help the environment by recycling or donating? Take a moment a look for a certified e-waste recycler in your area and learn what unwanted products they can take out of your closet or storage room!

Electronics Waste Recycling Improves in Quebec

Electronics retail chain, Best Buy, has recently decided to expand its popular recycling program to all stores in the Canadian province of Quebec.

The new electronics waste recycling program, which launched on March 1 of this year, will allow Quebec shoppers and residents to recycling their unwanted, outdated, or not functioning electronic waste without cost at all Best Buy stores. Items do have have to have originated from Best Buy and all brands will be accepted.

The e-waste to be accepted includes TVs, computers and their peripherals (speakers, keyboards, mice), computer monitors, laser and ink-jet printers, all makes of mp3 music and video players, cell phones, pagers, digital cameras, cell phones, DVD/CD players and turntables. All items collected will be responsibly recycled using authorized e-waste recyclers in Canada.

Best Buy had previously launched e-waste recycling programs at stores in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario to much success. Last year, the Best Buy stores recycled almost six million pounds of waste electronics, one hundred and seventy five thousand cell phones and forty five thousand pounds of batteries.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Smart expansion is a key to growing your business effectively. What can you do to add more green-friendly products or services to your current offerings? What can you do to eliminate your waste disposal costs by recycling or reusing the trash you generate?

New Business Ideas for Recycled eWaste

If you’re thinking the uses for recycled electronics waste are pretty small, think again! Two Texas businesses are taking unwanted and unusable e-Waste and turning it into something you see every single day – street signs! MicroStrate Inc. and Image Microsystems Inc. have joined forces and are are using recycled plastics and electronics waste to produce street signs. Even with their new operations, they already have sold their new products to four different cities in the United States and one city in Russia.

Currently employing close to fifty, the facility is expecting to run twenty four hour shifts within the year as interest in their product builds momentum. There has been great interest expressed in the product from state departments of transportation to test and purchase these “zero waste” signs.

The company handles both the recycling of the plastics and electronics waste and the manufacturing of the signs at their facility. Keeping all work in-house has reduced costs from purchasing through a recycled goods re-seller. The company also has a materials research project involving students from Texas Technical.

For now, regional electronics retail stores and computer companies provide much of the materials needed, but as business expands that footprint is expected to grow as well.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Thinking outside the box is what makes for success in the recycled material business. If you’re not an entrepreneur, but looking to sell your waste materials instead of paying to dispose of them in the trash, there are new businesses that may be interested in working with you!

U.S. Army Starts Battery Recycling Program

The United States Army is launching a first of its kind recycling program at its Fort Drum Army post in upstate New York. The new program will help soldiers and base employees improve their recycling of household single-use batteries.

The battery recycling initiative is brand new to the Army and the idea was originally conceived by the Public Works Environmental Division. If the test pilot is successful, it the program will likely be implemented at bases around the country.

Collection of the batteries will be simple and easy as the new containers are attained to the current recycling bins that are placed in strategic and high-traffic locations throughout the base.

As battery usage is high on the base, the effort to recycle came about as a way to reduce trash disposal costs. The Army must ship all solid waste to off-site landfills and the less that it considered waste, the greater the savings.

The base will send all collected batteries to the base’s scrap metal purchaser. For now, only household alkaline batteries will be recycled. Lead-acid, rechargeable, or any other batteries that would be considered toxic waste will be disposed of according to state and federal guidelines.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How many batteries does your business use every month? Instead of putting them in the trash, consider a special recycling program – you’ll be helping to keep them out of the landfill while cutting your costs!

Texas Hotels Offer Composting

A Texas company has launched a new innovation for those in the hotel and overnight accommodations industry. Texas Disposal Systems has recently partnered with the Four Season Hotel in the capital city of Austin to offer visitors and guests the first ever, in-room food waste recycling and composting program.

The goal of the partnership is to divert ninety percent of the hotel’s waste from ending up in local landfills; thus reducing waste disposal costs while offering environmentally aware consumers the opportunity to “go green” and recycle unwanted food while traveling for work or pleasure.

The on-site composting program combine food scraps and waste from the hotel’s restaurants, bars, and coffee cafe areas and then combined with organic outdoor waste such as landscaping trimmings from trees, shrubs  flowers, and grasses that are a part of the Four Seasons’ property.

All of the hotel’s organic waste will be used to create nutrient-rich compost by local company, Garden-Ville. Which will then be sold as well as used by the hotel for grounds-keeping.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Not only is the on-site composting program offered by the Four Seasons an economically and environmentally smart one, but its partnership with two other local businesses also helps to strengthen the regional green economy – creating more jobs and profits for all involved! What kinds of partnerships can your business establish to create something similar?

Pennsylvania Starts New E-Waste Law

In late January of 2013 the state of Pennsylvania enacted new laws prohibiting residents and business owners from disposing of unwanted or broken electronics waste with their routine trash pick-up. The Department of Environmental Protection for the state of Pennsylvania is overseeing compliance and monitoring the new change is policy.

The law was originally passed back in 2010, but provided municipalities lead time to prepare and inform residents. The new ruling prohibits computers, monitors, laptops, televisions, all other encased computer devices from regular trash disposal. All trash haulers conducting business in the state will no longer accept the material unless the specific community develops a special curbside recycling program.

State representatives are excited to see the new law implemented as they believe the economic benefit of harvesting the metals and recyclable components from electronic waste will far exceed the cost of allowing the devices to negatively impact the environment in a landfill.

The new policy will changes how electronics manufacturers can do business in the state. All businesses making or selling covered computer devices must promote electronics waste recycling by establishing mail-back and collection programs for consumers of their products.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your business and state doing to promote e-waste recycling? Internal components may have value on the recycling market or be considered a charitable donation. Take the time to see how you can save green by recycling!

Verizon Promotes E-Waste Recycling

Telecommunications company, Verizon Wireless is showing customers they take the issue of properly recycling electronics waste seriously. The company is sponsoring nine specialized e-waste community events across the country over the next several weeks and the kick-off event was held in late January at the company’s headquarters in Temple Terrace, Florida.

In 2011, Verizon reported that they collected approximately five hundred and thirty one thousand pounds of electronics waste that was earmarked for recycling and reuse. The goal of the new community events is to achieve a one hundred percent recycling rate or a zero-to-landfill goal, so that all electronics waste materials collected during the events will be recycled or reused.

Properly disposing of e-waste is often a concern for both individuals and businesses as proper removal of the data contained on cell phones, computers, and handheld devices is of the utmost importance. Verizon’s goal with the community events is to help members of these communities be able to dispose of their unwanted or unusable electronics in both a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Additional communities that will be hosting electronics recycling events include Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Ashburn, Virginia. The events are open to employees of Verizon as well as members of the community.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is your business viewed as an environmental friendly one by the community you serve? Let people know about your efforts in proper waste management and recycling – you may acquire publicity and new customers as a result of it!

Washington State Reaches Recycling Milestone

The northwestern state of Washington has announced that it has reached a milestone in its recycling efforts.

During the year 2011,  Washington’s recycling rate exceeded fifty percent for the first time ever. The figures were released to the public from the Department of Ecology for Washington in late 2012.

The comprehensive waste diversion rate, which also factors in recycling, energy recovery, and product re-use, increased from fifty four percent in 2010 to fifty seven percent in 2011.

Residents and businesses recycled over one hundred and eight six thousand tons of material waste more than in the previous year, which resulted in a four percent increase. At the same time, landfill use decreased, as four percent less waste material was disposed of.

The state estimates that recyclables collection is over three and a half pounds per person per day. The individual amount is the highest ever for the state since it began measuring recycling efforts in 1986.

A spokesperson from the  Department of Ecology said that much of the improvement in the recycling rate can be attributed to increased rates for cardboard, metals, newspapers, and e-waste. With metals recycling seeing the largest increases.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’ve set a recycling and waste reduction plan for your business, how are you keeping track of your financial and environmental successes? Making small changes and monitoring the results can help you achieve the best balance of saving money and saving the environment!