2019 was a year of change for the electronics industry in many ways. We saw significant changes in the value of commodities across the board. Overall, the values of much of the material that many of us produce and sell every day lost considerable value over the last 12 months. (See Adam Shine’s article). As is the case in any commodity-based industry, price volatility plays an important role in our day to day lives. It's a tough market out there, and smart, calculated business decisions will likely separate those that make it, and those that don't. In my opinion, being involved with ISRI can help companies trend towards stronger business networks, provide acute market awareness, and belong to a community that is striving for a better and stronger recycling industry.
In January a number of members from the Electronics Division made the annual journey to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show to meet with representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and several OEM’s to discuss the state of the industry and issues we face and how we can work together to solve them. As expected, batteries were the hot topic of the meeting. There were also discussions around EPR, changes to electronics recycling standards, design for recycling and specifications for used equipment. This was the third year that we have put on this meeting in conjunction with the CTA and it is always fruitful and beneficial.
The growing market impacts of the Coronavirus is something we are monitoring closely as a division and ISRI as a whole. We have already seen pricing on used phones drop significantly in the past couple weeks and expect to see further disruptions as the situation plays out. The efforts of countries to combat the spread of the virus has also impacted ocean freight and the availability of containers. ISRI held a webinar on the topic on February 26 and will continue to share information with members as it comes available.
On the standards front, round two of comments on the R2v3 draft have closed and the TAC is now in the process of reviewing and acting on the submissions. (More about R2) I spoke with Sean Devries and he said the number of responses for the second round of comments was substantial and that many of the comments were consistent across the board. We are hoping to have Sean and Corey at the convention in April to speak on the changes and the progress that the TAC has made. A lot of progress has been made on the R2 front and we expect these improvements to keep R2 as the preferred electronics recycling and reuse standard. (See ISRI's Comments).
Matt Young presented our first round of functional specifications for used equipment at the winter board meeting in Nashville. (See Matt’s article). We have received positive as well as constructive feedback and are hoping to be able to finalize and present the first three specifications at the board meeting in April at the convention for approval. If approved, the specifications would then go out for 90 days for public comment.
The ISRI 2020 Convention and Exhibition will be back in Las Vegas in April at the Mandalay Bay. We will only be hosting two sessions at the convention this year for electronics. The first session will be the Spotlight on Electronics and will be followed immediately by a Best Practices workshop. We will be holding a third workshop in partnership with the Auto Recycling Committee on Li-Ion batteries.
The convention this year is also an election year for Board of Directors positions within ISRI. At the winter meeting in Nashville nominations were presented for open positions for the Electronics Division. Craig Boswell was nominated to succeed me and assume the role of chairman. Adam Shine from Sunnking was nominated for Vice-Chair and Megan Tabb from Synergy was nominated for 2nd Vice-Chair. Nominations will remain open until the convention. Please notify Billy Johnson at ISRI if you would like to volunteer for the Electronics Division.
This will be my last time writing the Chairman’s Corner for the newsletter as my time as Chair will come to a close in April. It has been an honor and pleasure to have served on the board for the past six years. My predecessors and fellow division board members have included Joe Clayton, Jim Levine, Bill Long, Lane Epperson, and Craig Boswell. I would never put myself on the same level as these men as I have often looked up to them, learned much from them and have looked to them for guidance in both business and personal affairs. The knowledge that I have gained during my time on the board and my involvement within ISRI goes well beyond just these men. The benefits of being involved in this association and the men and women you get the opportunity to meet and work with cannot be expressed in words. I will always be thankful to Joe Clayton when he served as Chair for the phone call he made to welcome me as a member and to encourage me to get involved in ISRI. As Jim Levine once said, “we are only as good as the participation that we get from members.” Get involved, you will not regret it.
George Hinkle, ARCOA