Taking Back Electronic Waste
Any take-back legislation will radically change the way equipment, considered obsolete, is handled. Already major companies are gearing up for it, but it's still not law.
Taking Back Electronic Waste
Host: Any take back legislation will radically change the way equipment
considered obsolete his handled. Already major companies like
computer giant Hewlett-Packard are gearing up for it.
Tom Davis: It has change the way we think about things radically. For a start
we now have people whose job it is to worry about how are we
going to manage this in the future? We are now engaged in
financial modeling, what for example is the life expectancy of a
printer. How quickly will a printer return to us? When it returns to
us, how will we collect it? When we collect it how we will recycle
Host: Hewlett-Packard plans a big increase in it's volume of take back
materials within the next decade and take back is taking off to such
an extend that the next generation of electrical goods will be
designed with recycling in mind.
Clare Snow: Manufactures equipment need to be thinking now about how they
can design equipment so that it is more recyclable. It's not
something that will happen at night. If legislation came in
tomorrow we will not be ready for it. We need everyone to start
thinking now about how we’re going to cope with it and not just
reactive but how we’re going to develop it so that it becomes a
very positive thing for the UK.
Host: In Germany is being pressured to bringing in take back legislation
since 1991 but it's still not law and one of the reason is lobbing
from the powerful appliance manufactures they after all would
have to pay for the service. But some cities in Germany have
decided to act; in Nuremberg a local law banning electronic
equipment from land fields and inseminators has been passed. The
city has established six recycling centers where waste is separated
out into categorize. The recycling of electronic material gathered
here was put out to tender and one by a local firm.
Markus Schlogl: In the beginning it really was a pie in your business. There was no
know-how in Germany about electronic scrap recycling. So we
have to build up this know-how in our own really. And therefore it
was a decision of our management in the beginning to build up and
own research and development department to create, to produce all
Host: The problems they faced were huge. They had an enormous variety
of electronic goods each with and enormous entail variety of parts
most of which weren’t labeled or identified.
Dismantling a TV set highlights the dilemma. There are a hundreds
of models of TV’s each containing different materials. And it's not
just parts, the screen on a TV or a computer known as the Cathode
Ray Tube or CRT is recyclable. There is also zinc, cambium and
phosphor in the florescent lair of the screen all of which is
hazardous. Until recently no one knew how too safely recycle the
CRT’s but this company is now pioneered the methods.
Markus Schlogl: I don’t know how it's exported I mean this is -- to our brother
companies in foreign countries for example in Spain or in the
United States or we have corporation partners in Germany. And
our job is to train and to teach the workers in these companies.
Host: The German success story is due to a high level of consumer
awareness about the environment. In Britain recycling whether it is
of paper, batteries, glass or IT equipment hasn’t really taken off.
In the mid 1980’s to try to increase awareness in the UK
government decided to focus attention on rechargeable batteries.
Since 1986 everyone has written seven million rechargeable
batteries have being labeled with the request not to throw them
away with household rubbish. But less than one in a hundred
consumers keep this call.
Of the cost hat we dip in which are believed are on all new
rechargeable batteries. That basically is saying to the household
that were to the purchaser please don’t put them in the rubbish but
they else connect with them, they been have told.
Host: Setting up take back legislation is difficult but the manufacturer
can as we’ve seen in Germany it decides to take the initiative.
Makita power tools have been operation a battery take back
scheme in the UK. IT provides recycling bins that it's distribute to
outlets and as an incentive customers are offered a vulture worth
just fewer than five dollars for every battery they return. The return
batteries are then sending to a recycling depot in the south of
To date, the scheme has cost around a quarter of a million dollars
and the return rate just 1%.
Andrew Bowden: The reason it's so low because the majority of the users are not
aware of hey the environmental damage that little cabin batteries
are at their land field and B that we’ve actually got a recycling
scheme which is probably a bit of our powerful weathers. I think
the government need to do more to make people aware.
Host: Some the local authority based in the suburb of London is the only
other organization in the UK which is persevered with the nickel
cambium battery collection scheme.
Female: Most people are in support of recycling but you have to make it
easy for people. If they got to go miles and miles to recycle one
rechargeable battery at the end of two years, they’re not going to
Host: But incredibly this collection scheme maybe technically is
breaking the law. The special waste regulations established by the
department of the environment have made its own offence to
transport hazardous waste unless the responsible organization is
registered with the environment agency. That’s reasonable enough
but there are complaints that this measure which was originally
designed to keep hazardous substances out of the land fields is
making collection schemes over complicated and therefore
This red tape has caused many schemes to fail.
Andrew Bowden: Special waste regulation has really been a large disincentive to the
large retailers. And as it currently stands is you really shouldn’t be
collecting store or you know transporting nickel cambium batteries
in huge states. But what we’re actually being doing is bending the
rules like is should we say to continue collecting because we stop
then we can never reach the governments targets.
Host: The European Commission land of the prospect of land field sites
laced with cambium is now considering facing out the manufacture
of cambium batteries by the years 2008. It believes that the decade
is long enough for industry to come with up with an alternative.
Taking Back Electronic Waste
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