E-Waste Recovery Rates Increase

The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) recently released its 2008 per capita collection index (PCCI) for electronics recycling, showing a 7 percent increase in recovered e-waste from 2007. The PPCI is designed to measure changes in the amount of recovered electronics collected in six representative electronics recycling programs across the U.S.

“We have been gathering these numbers from the same collection programs for the last three years in order to measure the overall trends,” says NCER Executive Director Jason Linnell. “As anyone who runs electronics collection programs will tell you, volumes are increasing.”

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Electronics that are diverted to landfills can leak hazardous materials like lead, cadmium and mercury into the environment and air. Photo: electronicsrecycling.org

The jurisdictions represented in the PCCI include the states of California, Maine and Delaware, as well as municipalities in Minnesota, Connecticut and Virginia.

Although the PCCI is based on six specific programs, the results suggest a similar trend in electronics recycling nationwide.

“Our PCCI indicated a 23 percent increase in pounds collected from 2006 to 2008,” continues Linnell. “This suggests that consumers with access to these recycling programs are participating in increasing numbers and volumes; and we expect to see these collection rates continue to increase as consumers become more aware of options for recycling electronics through industry voluntary and state-mandated programs.”

The 2008 statistics were announced at the 2009 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) Electronics Recycling Summit. ISRI is a private, non-profit trade association, representing more than 1,600 companies that deal in scrap commodities including ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, electronics, rubber, plastics, glass and textiles.

Although electronic waste only accounts for 1 to 4 percent of municipal waste, it may lead to as much as 70 percent of the heavy metals found in landfills.

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  1. it would be helpful if you could focus more on what happens to e-waste once it is collected, since export continues to be a huge problem and many “recyclers” continue to use practices that cause great harm around the world by sending old electonics to the developing world. Sot the “recovery rate” is only part of the issue.
    See today’s story about how Dell has just announced a new policy that prohibits export:


  2. What a lot of people don’t know is that when electronics are thrown out, a lot of the toxins leech into our soil and eventually our water supplies…only to be consumed by humans in the end! This is a big problem and we’ve gotta find better ways to dispose of things like laptops.

    This guy, Christopher Swain, runs things called Ethical Electronic Recycling Events. He takes all your old stuff like cell phones, TVs, printers, computers, and either breaks them down into reusable parts or makes sure they’re all recycled properly. He wrote a blog about it here: http://tiny.cc/ivRzC

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