Will California Pay Too Much for CRT Recycling?
California consumers may not get
the best deal if the state will be paying $.48 per pound to ensure
recovery of cathode ray tube (CRT) electronics - at least, that's
the opinion of one national electronics recycler.
"That's two times what we
expect it to cost," asserts Mark Matza, executive vice president
of the Fortune Group, based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The state has to set a price for
what it will reimburse recyclers and collectors under its new
CRT recycling law (SB 20). After five stakeholder meetings, and
comments with "costs" all over the map, the California
Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) and Department of Toxic
Substances Control settled on $.26 for recyclers, and another
$.22 for collectors.
The state will charge buyers $6-8
per new unit to finance the system. The money will be reimbursed
to recyclers, who will reimburse collectors.
Matza tells State Recycling Laws
Update that as long as he is allowed to export parts to his ISO
9000 and ISO 14000-certified plants in Hong Kong or China, his
company costs should be much lower than the $.26 a pound now set
in regulation by the state. He notes that the recycler in Massachusetts
was charging the state about $.10 per pound to process mixed electronics
on a state contract.
Recyclers make money off units
and parts that are reusable, and Matza says nearly 100% of what
comes in must be exported for economic reasons. Matza, who has
ten U.S. recycling facilities and three in Asia, says his company
does manual de-manufacturing, so it can get the majority of the
material recycled, including plastics. It is nearly impossible
to find U.S. markets for 100% of the parts, because the products
are now made in Asia.
He notes that recyclers opting
for a fully automated approach with shredders are usually not
able to find markets for the left over contaminated plastics,
and end up incinerating.
Matza suggests that California
could save money if it just put the recycling contracts out to
bid instead of setting a price.
Matt McCarron, staffer with CIWMB
working on the SB 20 regulations, agreed that perhaps some recyclers
can handle material for less than $.26 - but many others say $.26
He says the law requires them
to set a price, though the rate can be amended in July 2005.
McCarron says the government is
less concerned if recyclers make a profit - they mainly want to
Matza says some recyclers are
already holding CRTs in warehouses, waiting for the law's reimbursement
to start. McCarron says that nothing collected before October
will qualify for reimbursement - adding that the state will have
to audit recyclers reduce fraud.
How much will the state take in?
McCarron says early estimates
put it at about $52 million per year "but that was before
they included LCD displays."
Will that be too much or too little?
No one knows.