Recent News

  • Making A Better Phone Battery From Beer Brewery Waste
    For every pint of beer produced by a brewery, seven pints of waste water are created. And it can't just be washed down the drain--the waste requires extra cleaning first. But what if the gunk that comes out of that water could be used for something useful? Like, for making batteries? That's exactly what a research team at University of Colorado Boulder is doing. Source: Fast Company, 10/25/16
  • Saving silver: portable micro-factories could turn e-waste trash into treasure
    A new low-cost alternative to smelting could solve Australia's electronic waste problem, eliminate shipping emissions and create new business opportunities Source: The Guardian, 9/20/16
  • Mold Might Be The Future Of Recycling For Rechargeable Batteries
    Tossing a worn-out smartphone battery in the trash also means chucking the ever-more-valuable materials inside-- namely, lithium and cobalt. As the world works to deal with this growing stream of e-waste, one team is evaluating the potential of a natural battery recycling method-- fungi, or more specifically, mold. Source: Forbes, 8/21/16
  • 'Sporks in space': Bothell firm brings recycling to final frontier
    Can recycling be successfully launched in outer space? Tethers Unlimited, Inc., a Bothell-based aerospace technology company, plans to find out when its recycling/3D printing system is tested aboard the International Space Station. The company has been awarded a NASA contract to develop and deliver a Positrusion Recycler to sterilize and recycle plastic waste such as packaging materials, utensils, trays and food storage containers into high-quality 3D filament. Dirty plastic dinnerware will ultimately be turned into satellite components, replacement parts, and astronaut tools via a high-quality 3D printer, creating the first "closed-cycle" in-space manufacturing system. Source: The Herald Business Journal, 8/24/16
  • Samsung to Sell High-end Refurbished Cell Phones
    Wouldn't it be great to own a Galaxy S or Galaxy Note 7 with a much lower price tag and environmental impact? According to Reuters, Samsung is planning to launch a program that will refurbish premium smartphones, offering refurbished versions for a lower cost. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/23/16
  • Tokyo's Olympic medals might be made from discarded smartphones
    Organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo aim to produce gold, silver, and bronze medals from the metals found in discarded smartphones and other electronics, according to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review. As the business journal reports, Olympic organizers, government officials, and executives first discussed the plan during a June meeting organized by a Japanese NGO. The hope is that such a scheme would help raise awareness around so-called "e-waste," though Japan would need to implement a more comprehensive system for collecting discarded electronics. Source: The Verge, 8/22/16
  • Bedford rare earth recoverer set to launch project
    A consortium of European investors is backing a Bedford rare earth metals company just ahead of its imminent completion of a pilot project to demonstrate the effectiveness of its technology. The method used by Ucore passes a solution containing rare earth metals from mine tailings through a chemical filter which traps the precious metals. The method is called SuperLig molecular recognition technology and was developed by Utah-based IBC Advanced Technologies. That company sold the exclusive global rights to this technology for rare earth metal separation, recycling and tailings processing applications to Ucore for U.S.-$2.9 million last year. Since then, the two companies have formed a joint venture, in which Ucore has controlling interest, to market this technology to the rare earth metals sector. And they've undertaken a pilot project to demonstrate how well it works. Source: The Chronicle Herald, 8/1/16
  • Magnet without Chinese rare earths a boon for automakers
    Honda Motor Co. and Daido Steel Co. have developed a magnet for hybrid vehicles that does not contain dysprosium, a feat that allows them to bypass China's near-monopoly on the rare earth element. The technology, touted as a world first in terms of practical use, means the companies will be protected from a potential surge in rare earth element prices. Source: The Asahi Shimbun, 8/2/16
  • Electronics Recycling Patent Watch
    A national processing company develops a collection bin for e-scrap, and researchers at the University of Houston push forward in rare-earth recovery. Source: Resource Recycling, 8/3/16
  • Project looks to lift recovery of precious metals from e-scrap
    A trial program in Europe is exploring more efficient ways of recovering a range of raw materials from used electronics and appliances. The project will focus on recovering gold, platinum, antimony, cobalt, graphite and other elements from small appliances and household electronics. The Critical Raw Material Recovery project includes trial collection programs for e-scrap, including retailer take-back systems and drop-off collection bins at universities, businesses and other recycling events. In addition, the program will test five reprocessing and recovery techniques focused on recovering the metals. The effort is organized by U.K.-based Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), an organization that works with governments and the private sector to boost recycling. Source: Resource Recycling, 8/4/16
  • E-scrap certification spreads to Singapore
    A processing operation in Singapore has become the first e-Stewards-certified location in Southeast Asia. Basel Action Network, the Seattle-based nonprofit group that owns the e-Stewards certification, announced that Global Ewaste Solutions has achieved certification for its Singapore location. The company has also gained e-Stewards certification for locations in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Source: Resource Recycling, 8/4/16
  • The Fix Is Out: Product Repairs Get Tougher in New Age of Obsolescence
    Mike Tyran, a nurse living near Corpus Christi, Texas, bought a used Apple iPod in 2010 and tried to repair it after the battery wouldn't charge. But when the inveterate "fixer" attempted to open the white-and-chrome rectangle, he was stumped. "I had worked on old tube radios ... (which) had diagrams (and) ... schematics. I know where the wiring goes and I know how to open it," said Tyran, 56, a former heavy diesel mechanic. "I looked at an iPod and I had no idea how to open it & because there were no screws." Tyran's realization that the sleek but defective digital music player was nearly impenetrable opened his eyes to a broader truth: He and his fellow tinkerers are living in a New Age of Obsolescence -- a time where repair is, by design, often not an option. There are many reasons that consumer products are increasingly manufactured in ways that make it nearly impossible to fix them. Among them: Ever-tighter design requirements, manufacturers' fears of intellectual property theft or liability if a repair goes wrong, and the growing number of products that contain proprietary software -- a class that will explode in the era of the Internet of Things. But critics say profit generated by repeat product sales is the biggest driver behind disposable consumer products. Source: NBC News, 8/1/16
  • India: EPR rules must include guidelines for sound disposal of E-waste: Experts
    Mumbai: With the environment ministry notifying the new E-Waste Management Rules 2016, that would bring the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), experts feel the need to infuse capital and recognise recycling as an industry. The new rules would make the manufacturer responsible to collect e-waste generated during the manufacture of any electrical and electronic equipment and also seek authorisation from State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs). Source: The Free Press Journal, 7/28/16
  • China: Government moves to tackle e-waste pollution
    Authorities impose stringent regulations on workshops whose activities damage the ecosystem, report Zheng Jinran in Beijing and Qiu Quanlin in Shantou, Guangdong province. Guiyu, a township in Guangdong province, has developed a cleaner, healthier atmosphere since strict restrictions on the disposal of electronic waste-including televisions, air conditioners, washing machines, cellphones and computers-came into force in 2013. Known as the e-waste capital of the world since the 1990s, Guiyu has grown into a major hub for its disposal. In its heyday, more than 100,000 people, about 50 percent of the permanent residents, made a living dismantling electronic equipment to harvest the expensive metals inside, according to Lin Qiurong, head of the township government. Source: China Daily, 7/25/16
  • California hikes consumer fees on new electronics
    California will boost the sums consumers pay when they buy new display devices, ensuring the solvency of a state fund backing e-scrap recycling. Scott Smithline, director of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), on July 20 approved increasing the fees. The fees are currently $3 for devices with screens less than 15 inches in diameter, $4 for devices with screens between 15 inches and 35 inches, and $5 for screens larger than 35 inches. The increased advanced recovery fees (ARFs) use the same tiered structure as the old ones but bump the numbers up to $5, $6 and $7. California is the only state to use ARFs to fund its e-scrap recycling program. ARFs in the state currently apply to purchases of LCD displays, laptops with LCD screens, plasma TVs and personal DVD players. Consumers bought nearly 15.8 million electronics with ARFs during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Source: Resource Recycling, 7/21/16
  • Rising metals values pull minerals producer into e-scrap refining
    A Nevada mining and refining company announced it will start accepting e-scrap -- specifically, ground up circuit boards from computers. Itronics Inc. plans to make silver bullion from its own internal silver concentrates and the silver found in recovered circuit boards. The company will also extract gold, palladium, copper and aluminum from e-scrap for other uses. Itronics noted it is getting the circuit boards from a Reno-based computer repair and sales company. It is also close to inking a similar deal with New2U Computers, a nonprofit group that repairs and resells old computers. Source: Resource Recycling, 7/21/16
  • Kane County [IL] trying to relaunch electronics recycling
    Kane County is working to revamp and reactivate its electronics recycling program, which was suspended months ago after the county received an unmanageable volume of materials. By creating a new system for daily collection sites and resuming special recycling events, the county hopes to again provide residents with opportunities to safely dispose of their TVs, computers and electronics, said recycling coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Source: The Daily Herald, 7/18/16
  • Newly introduced federal bill would limit e-waste exports
    Representatives Paul Cook (CA) and Gene Green (TX) have introduced the Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) in an effort to reduce the export of used electronics. Source: WasteDive, 7/1/16
  • How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law
    There are big "no trespassing" signs affixed to most of our electronics. If you own a gaming console, laptop, or computer, it's likely you've seen one of these warnings in the form of a sticker placed over a screw or a seam: "Warranty void if removed." In addition, big manufacturers such as Sony, Microsoft, and Apple explicitly note or imply in their official agreements that their year-long manufacturer warranties--which entitle you to a replacement or repair if your device is defective--are void if consumers attempt to repair their gadgets or take them to a third party repair professional. What almost no one knows is that these stickers and clauses are illegal under a federal law passed in 1975 called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. To be clear, federal law says you can open your electronics without voiding the warranty, regardless of what the language of that warranty says. This counterintuitive fact has far-reaching implications as manufacturers have stepped up their attempts to monopolize the device repair market. Source: Motherboard, 6/28/16
  • Green Electronics Council Announces the 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Award Winners
    The Green Electronics Council (GEC) recently announced the winners of the 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Awards, which recognize excellence in the procurement of sustainable electronics. EPEAT is a free and trusted source of environmental product ratings that makes it easy for purchasers to select high-performance electronics that support their organization's sustainability goals. EPEAT is managed by the Green Electronics Council. The 38 award winners represented a wide range of organizations, including national and provincial/state governments, leading academic institutions and the healthcare sector. Source: Green Electronics Council, 5/24/16
  • The business case for sustainable electronics
    People have become nearly inseparable from their smartphones, tablets and laptops. And they eagerly await the release of newer devices promising faster processing, better screen resolution, more apps, more functionality, more everything. The magnitude of the market for digital devices is staggering. It's estimated that by 2020, 5.5 billion people will own a mobile phone and over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet. To put it in perspective, by that same time, it's estimated that only 3.5 billion people will have running water. But the electronics industry is also evolving -- and it has to in order to stay competitive. Source: GreenBiz, 6/8/16
  • Organizations disapprove of Pennsylvania's electronics recycling legislation and proposed amendment
    Five of Pennsylvania's recycling, litter and waste management organizations representing key stakeholder factions affected by the 2010 Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) have united in disapproval of CDRA and its proposed amendment, House Bill 1900. The Electronics Recycling Association of Pennsylvania (ERAP), Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB), the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC), the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) and the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) say they are in consensus on the steps necessary to revamp access to electronic scrap recycling opportunities for Pennsylvania citizens. "CDRA inadvertently created an environment in which a once-growing Pennsylvania electronics waste recycling industry nearly collapsed," says Ned Eldridge, ERAP president. "This forced counties and recyclers across Pennsylvania to reduce or abandon their once productive programs." Source: Recycling Today, 6/22/16
  • How Dell Saved $39.5 Million, Cut Carbon Pollution via Telecommuting
    Allowing US employees to telecommute has saved Dell $39.5 million and avoided an estimated 25 million kWh of energy and 13,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions since fiscal year 2014. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/17/16
  • E-Waste Empire
    New York City discards millions of pounds of dead electronics each year. We follow its path from shelf to shredder. Source: The Verge, 6/22/16
  • The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste
    This international undercover investigation reveals what really happens to America's discarded TVs, phones and computers. Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting, 6/1/16
  • Why Tech Companies Design Products With Their Destruction in Mind
    Apple introduced a piece of technology recently that will likely never be used by any consumer. Instead, it kind of cleans up after them: a robot that breaks down iPhones for recycling. The company spent more than three years building Liam, of which there are currently two. Each carefully separates iPhone components such as the camera module, SIM card trays, screws and batteries. Instead of tossing the whole device into a shredder--the most common form of disposal--Liam separates materials so they can be recycled more efficiently. Other electronics makers take a different recycling approach, designing products that simplify disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together, for instance. Some also have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal. It's all part of the electronics industry's efforts to undo a problem of its own making. The technological advances that replaced typewriters with personal computers, flip phones with smartphones and clunky TVs with flat-screen displays also spawned the consumer expectation that today's cutting-edge product will become obsolete in a few years. The constant churn of new devices has contributed to an increase in electronic waste, some of which ends up in developing nations where local residents must deal with the health and environmental risks. Source: The Wall Street Journal
  • HOBI International advises team effort to extend life of mobile devices
    HOBI International Inc., an electronics recycling company based in Batavia, Illinois, says life span extension of personal electronics and mobile devices can best be achieved if e-recyclers receive the assistance and cooperation they need from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and legislators. The major legislative challenge is kill-switch legislation, according to HOBI. Kill switches are intended to reduce the theft of mobile devices by rendering them inoperable. However, they also make it nearly impossible to repair and refurbish otherwise working mobile devices that were never stolen or lost, reducing them to e-scrap. Another problem is the restriction imposed by OEMs on who can buy spare parts, such as glass and casings, to repair devices, HOBI says. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/8/16
  • DeKalb County [IL] electronics recycling collections cancelled
    The DeKalb County Health Department announced Thursday that all electronics recycling collections throughout DeKalb County have been suspended after a vendor said it would no longer be able to service the county's five monthly drop-off sites in DeKalb, Sandwich, Sycamore, Waterman and Shabbona. Source: Daily Chronicle via the MidWeek, 6/8/16
  • Peotone [IL] Agrees To Host Will County Residential Electronics Recycling Site
    Will County residents could see the addition of a much-needed electronics recycling center in Peotone, beginning in July. The Peotone Board of Trustees has approved an intergovernmental agreement with the county that would allow the village to "host and maintain a site to collect electronics from Will County residents." The collection site would be located near the police station at 208 E. Main Street. Days and hours of operation are to be determined, but once finalized, will be posted on the village website and the police department website, according to Village President Steve Cross. With all but one county electronics recycling drop-off site closed, Cross noted, having one in Peotone will make it easier for residents to dispose of unwanted and outdated TVs, monitors, computers, cameras, scanners, microwave ovens, telephones, vacuums, copy machines and more. Source: The Vedette Online, 6/9/16
  • Another federal bill to limit e-scrap exports may be on the way
    An industry coalition that pushed for a national ban on sending e-scrap abroad is now looking for legislators to introduce a bill to Congress that would focus on the dangers of counterfeit material. The Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act, currently in draft form, represents a departure from past efforts to outright ban the export of e-scrap by spelling out a variety of exemptions. The bill proposal, which was announced by the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), would ban the export of non-tested, used whole devices. Meanwhile, it would permit the export of "testing, working electronics" destined for reuse abroad as well as devices that have been destroyed through shredding and dismantling and prepared for recycling operations overseas. The possiblie connection between exported e-scrap and counterfeit goods has become a national story of late. The fear is that parts from exported, non-working devices could be used in the production of counterfeit electronic components in China and elsewhere. There is a chance those electronics could make their way back into equipment that is integral to national safety and security and increase the chance of such equipment malfunctioning. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/9/16