Welcome back!!! Summer is coming to an end, the kids are back in school, the summer block parties are over, the weekend BBQs with friends and family are winding down, and it’s time to get our minds back onto business. The coming of fall is one of my favorite times of the year. For me and possibly for you as well, it is a mental reset, and almost feels like a new year. I hope all of you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer. While the summer months are a time for vacations and long weekends away, business never stops. It has been a busy summer within ISRI.
In July we held our Summer Board meeting and Fly-in in Washington D.C. The event was well attended. Division members had full schedules on the Hill with congressional leaders and their staff. The Fly-in is held once a year and I encourage everyone to attend at some point in your career. The ISRI staff does a fantastic job of organizing the event. They take care of scheduling the meetings for each attendee and also provide training the day before the meetings.
After the Fly-in, the Summer Board meetings commenced with two days focused on strategic planning for ISRI. Our industry is in a constant state of change and it is critical that ISRI adapts to those changes to better serve us, the members. The Executive Committee, under the leadership of Brian Shine, is committed to listening to the opinions and insights of the members. The Executive Committee has tasked Division and Committee Leadership to act on those recommendations to ensure that ISRI maintains its relevancy and remains nimble enough to adjust to change when needed. The meetings were very productive and a lot of recommendations were put forth. The Executive Committee has already acted on a number of the recommendations and will be covering more action items at the next Board meeting in October in Portland. I hope you will be able to attend.
In June, Billy Johnson and I had a meeting with the folks at the Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding a proposed ruling that would have banned the export of used to electronics. The meeting went extremely well. The DOC was very receptive to our comments; they agreed during the meeting that the proposed changes would not have the intended outcome and that they were not going to move forward with the changes. Within days of our meeting, Representative Espaillat of New York introduced H.R.3559, the Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act. This bill is a reincarnation of previous bills that sought to ban the export of used electronics. Each of the previous versions – thanks to the lobbying efforts of ISRI – ultimately failed to go anywhere. The intent of this bill, as written, is to prevent used electronics from becoming the source of counterfeit electronics in the military and civilian supply chain. One of our primary arguments against this logic is a report published by the Senate Committee on Armed Services after lengthy research into the issue. The report found that banning the export of used electronics would have a negligible impact on the proliferation of counterfeit goods and that the issue should be combated through better due diligence and enforcement of standards throughout the supply chain management systems. This new bill, if passed in its current form, would: make all international shipments public record, divulging your downstream vendors and their purchases to your competitors, require the Department of Commerce to define testing methodologies for equipment and the criteria for being a fully functional device, define all electronics whether scrap or tested working as waste, exempt companies that have facilities in the U.S. and are shipping to their own facilities overseas, and require all scrap from electronics that are being exported to be shredded prior to export including circuit boards. The bill also exempts electrical components from automobiles and appliances with electronic features. It also exempts printers and copiers from having to be fully functional like other devices and allows manufacturers to bypass the restrictions by defining a shipment as recalled product. The unnecessary requirements that the bill would place on recyclers and the exemptions that would be given to certain companies would put many recyclers at a disadvantage in the marketplace.
On the lighter side, the annual E-Scrap Convention is coming up in September. The Electronics Division has organized two pre-convention workshops this year that will be taking place on the September 23. The first workshop is being led by Craig Boswell of HOBI International and will focus on the OEM/Recycler Partnership and it will offer attendees valuable insight into fostering relationships with an OEM and the positives and negatives that can occur in these relationships. The second workshop is being led by Rike Sandlin of Rivervista Partners and is focused on Operational Excellence; it will cover all aspects of an electronics recycling company and the best practices that can be implemented across an organization to maximize profits and productivity. On the morning, of September 25, ISRI has organized a plenary session during the main conference on international trade, the commodities market, and transportation. This panel will be moderated by Jim Levine from Regency Technologies with Adina Renee Adler speaking on trade and Joe Pickard speaking on commodities. Robin Wiener will also be at the conference this year and will be part of a panel discussion on R2v3 and what to look for in the next version.
Closing notes: There is a division conference call held every other Thursday. If you would like to participate on the calls or just listen in, please email Billy Johnson to get added to the calendar invites. The Fall Board and Committee meeting will held October 15th – 18th at The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. I hope that you are able to attend.