It has been a busy time within the electronics recycling industry since the publication of the last issue of the eScrap Beat.
First, SERI released the proposed revisions to the R2 Standard in April for public comment. The comment period has closed. ISRI followed the development process very closely and hosted two sessions with SERI staff for our members. ISRI members were able to participate and provide feedback to SERI in real time. The meetings produced positive results for both SERI and our members. SERI received close to 500 comments from the public during the comment period. The Technical Advisory Committee will begin the review process in June. You will find more details on this topic further down in the newsletter.
Recovered plastics continue to be a challenging material stream for many companies with ever changing import restrictions being announced. Plastics are also getting more and more attention in the press since China imposed its initial ban last year. The recent negative press is a significant concern for our members and was discussed in detail at the board meetings in Los Angeles. ISRI is developing federal legislative proposals and discussing these issues with the EPA, other federal agencies, Congress, and international organizations. Plastics also hold a reputational issue for the recycling industry that can lead to many well-intentioned yet unneeded, ineffective, and often harmful legislation or regulations such as plastic bag and plastic straw bans and flow-control policies that misdirect the flows of materials. An example is the BASEL Convention proposals mentioned below.
This past November the Department of Commerce proposed a ban on the export of untested used electronics for public comment. ISRI and numerous other associations are opposed to the proposal and submitted comments. The goal of the proposed change in the regulation was reduce the feedstock for producing counterfeit goods that could potentially be imported back into the U.S. The Senate Armed Services Committee conducted an in-depth investigation into counterfeit parts in the U.S. supply chain and found that banning the export of used electronics from the U.S. would not have an impact on the issue. The Committee recommended increased quality control by manufacturers and tightened monitoring at the ports of imports. Implementation of the proposed ruling would have a negative impact upon a large swatch of the industry without providing the intended outcome. No decision has been made yet on the proposal and we are continuing to actively have conversations with the DOC and BIS on the proposed rule change.
ISRI holds bi-weekly conference calls for division members to discuss various issues that we are facing within the industry and to plan for upcoming events. I encourage you to take part in these calls as your schedule allows. If you are interested in joining us on a call please email Billy Johnson to be added to the calendar invite list.
Lastly, the summer fly-in is coming up in July in Washington, DC. If you have never taken part in this I encourage you to do so. This is a great opportunity to get on the Hill and to meet with your senator or congressional delegation to discuss issues impacting your company and the industry as a whole. ISRI staff is available to assist members schedule meetings. Additionally, there is always a staff person or member available to accompany you to the meeting(s). A training session will be held on the July 16 prior to meetings that take place on the following day, on July 17.
George Hinkle, ARCOA
Electronics Division Chair