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Chairman’s Corner

As this is my first column as chairman, I want to welcome everyone to the Electronics Division and hope everyone will get involved in the many issues that are happening in the world of electronics recycling. I also want to thank Bill Long for chairing the Division for the past two years and forcing the Division to recognize the new issues facing this industry such as lithium-ion batteries, the right to repair and reuse electronic devices, date privacy and security concerns and protocols, and the new world of the Internet of Things.

We will be going further on all these issues over the next two years along with several other emerging issues. I expect the next two years to be an exciting time as the industry changes and grows. One of my goals is to renew the Division’s mission and purpose. Accordingly, I have re-created a divisional structure to address the various subjects from education to specifications to public policy threats. I hope this structure will make us more efficient and effective as we go forward.

National Convention
The ISRI Annual Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas was an excellent and well-attended event this year. The sessions that were put on by the Electronics Division were full of great content and gave those that attended the valuable information to take back to their companies and organizations. This was also an election year for ISRI and we said farewell to Bill Long, who has served as our chairman for the past two years. We are very appreciative of the time he served on the board and want to extend our thanks to him for serving. Bill will continue to be active within ISRI as he will be volunteering time on a couple of different committees over the next two years.

New Board Members
With the election this year we are fortunate to have two very experienced veterans of the industry join the board. Craig Boswell, a long time active member, from HOBI International will be the Vice-Chair in this term and Jim Levine of Regency Technologies will be the 2nd Vice-Chair. Jim served the past two years as chair of the finance committee of the national board and is a former chair of the Electronics Division.

Electronics Division Committees
After numerous meeting and calls within the Division, we have finalized our agenda and goals for the next two years. One of the first decisions we made was to resurrect the six committees that had been in place since the early days of the Division. While our industry has been fortunate to have a relatively quiet period over the last few years there are numerous issues that we are or will be facing and we are committed to be in front of the issues and to be the Voice of the Industry to support you.

The committees that we re-formed and the Chair of each committee are as follows:

  • Membership – Bill Long, All Green
  • Reuse and Recycling – Craig Boswell, HOBI International
  • Definitions and Specifications – John Birkholz, AERC
  • Education and Training – Jim Levine, Regency Technologies
  • Certifications and Standards – Megan Tabb, Synergy
  • Legislative and Regulatory – Joe Clayton, ARCOA Group

We have an immediate need of volunteers for Reuse and Recycling, Definitions and Specifications, and Education and Training. Each of these committees has an aggressive agenda in front of them and your help will be needed.

What’s an ISRI MEMBER?
When my company first joined ISRI, we did what many new members will often do. We signed up, paid our dues, browsed the website, and then continued on about our business and never gave our membership a second thought, other than to add the ISRI logo to our website. When it came time to renew the next year the first thing that came up in our internal discussions was, “is it worth it.” It just happened that the next day I was on the phone with a long-time member and mentioned that we wouldn’t be renewing our membership and I will never forget what he told me. He said, “George, if you want to see the value then you have got to get involved.” What he told me is now my message to you. If you want to see the value, you need to get involved. It has been true for my company and me, and I am very thankful to the member that took the time to convince me to go to my first board meeting. Take my advice, if you haven’t attended a national board meeting, commit to attend two meetings in the next year and also get out to your chapter meetings. Make a commitment to get involved and you will see the rewards.

2018 – 2020 Division Goals
As I mentioned above, we have had numerous meetings to outline our goals for the next term and we want to share these goals with you. Achieving these goals will require help from you and I would ask that you consider joining one of the committees. If you are interested in serving and have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Billy Johnson or myself.

A few of the goals and agenda topics we will be pursuing over the two years will be: increasing Division membership and participation, creating a set of functional and cosmetic grading guidelines for equipment destined for reuse that ranges from wireless and handheld devices to networking equipment and servers and more, development of an education and training platform geared towards the reuse, repair, and resale of electronics that expands on our traditional focus on recycling, and work with ISRI Safety to draft documentation that addresses safety issues with lithium batteries that will include safe handling, testing, storage, recycling, and transportation guidelines and best practices.

CES 2019 Las Vegas
The Electronics Division winter board meeting will be held this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Consumer Technology Association has graciously offered to host our meeting and will be in attendance at the meeting along with a number of their members. ISRI will also be part of a panel discussion that will be part of the CES program. We think this is an exciting opportunity and we would like to see a large turnout for our inaugural meeting. We are working with the CTA on a couple of special offers for ISRI members that attend the meeting and will share the details with you, as we get closer to the meeting.

On The Horizon
The GDPR or General Data Protections Regulation goes into full effect this month in the European Union. Originally approved by the European Parliament in April of 2016 with a two-year transition period the law will now be in effect as of May 25. This sweeping law cuts through all sectors, industries, and service provision within the EU. Of note is this law’s extra-territorial effect as companies outside the EU dealing with data of citizens within the EU must also be compliant, and are subject to hefty fines. The minimum fine for non-compliance is 20 million Euros.

Prior to this legislation, it was just the “controller” of the data who was responsible; now with the new regulation the “processors” now have responsibility as well. Does this mean that ITAD providers and recyclers are subject to the regulations? The answer is: probably. Can the law be enforced on companies within the United States? We don’t know yet. GDPR made a recent appearance in Supreme Court arguments this month in a case involving Microsoft. It has been reported that decisions made by the Supreme Court could set up a future conflict for companies seeking to comply with both U.S. and EU laws. ISRI staff will be looking into the matter and we will have updates for you as they come available.

In Closing
Get involved. ISRI is the Voice of the Recycling Industry. For ITAD providers, refurbishers, and electronics recyclers, ISRI is the only trade association that has the resources available to support your company and our industry. Don’t just be a member, be involved.

George Hinkle, ARCOA
ISRI Electronics Division Chair

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