The eCycling Leadership Initiative hopes to raise consumer awareness of the more than 5,000 collection sites currently sponsored by industry; increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly; increase the number of collection opportunities available; and provide transparent metrics on eCycling efforts. It notes that one billion bounds of electronics, if not properly recycled, would fill the equivalent to a 71,000-seat NFL stadium.
"The launch of the eCycling Leadership Initiative is a watershed moment in the history of electronics recycling in the United States," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. "Our members have been on the forefront of eCycling advancements, and today a forward-thinking industry is challenging itself to go even further."
The announcement is predictably not without critics. The Basel Action Network says that the list of recycling points includes thousands of locations that "...do not appear to have necessary controls in place to ensure only responsible domestic recycling will take place. The net result of collecting more from the public without proper controls is a likely increase in exports of US toxic e-waste to developing countries..."
BAN says that with the exception of Samsung and Nvidia (the only two electronics manufacturers that have committed to fully responsible and accountable recycling practices by becoming e-Stewards Enterprises) most manufacturers continue to:
* Refuse to tell the public where their collected, off-spec and internal e-waste goes to be recycled
* Fight to retain the right to export non-functioning e-waste resulting in hazardous waste accumulations in developing countries
* Refuse to accept the Basel Ban Amendment agreed by a consensus of countries and now practiced by 33 of the 41 developed countries.
The success of collaborative support towards PAYT is in no small part ultimately due to relatively accurate market pricing, including externalities, and the consensus that such an approach ultimately brings. Unfortunately, international e-waste markets seem more complex and agreement will be harder won at least in the near term. The good news is that continued continued debate should help refocus our efforts towards an optimal solution.