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Archive for September, 2009

Student designs cardboard computer case – News – PC Authority

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From our very own University of Houston, a cardboard computer case, immensely reducing the amount of plastic going into each computer.

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The only US federal regulation on e-waste is the CRT Final Rule. (An EPA ID number specifies that you have registered with the EPA as a waste generator, but does not require proper handling or disposal of waste. Learn more about EPA ID numbers here. You can even look up who has an EPA number by zip code!)

Even with the low amount of regulation, e-recyclers are getting around the Final Rule, as reported by the Government Accountability Office last year by hiding shipments of CRTs to developing countries and failing to report the export to federal regulators.

So what does the CRT Final Rule regulate? A summary is listed below:

Used CRTs (Broken and Intact) Exported for Recycling

  • Notify EPA (OECA) of an intended shipment 60 days before the shipment. Notification may cover exports extending over a 12-month or shorter period. Notification must include contact info about the exporter and recycler, and an alternate recycler. It must also include a description of the recycling, frequency and rate of export, means of transport, total quantity of CRTs, and info about transit countries.
  • OECA will notify the receiving country and transit countries. When the receiving country consents in writing to the receipt of the CRTs, OECA will forward the consent to the exporter. The exporter may not ship the CRTs until he receives the consent.
  • If the receiving country does not consent or withdraws a prior consent, EPA will notify the exporter in writing. Exporters must keep copies of notifications and consents for three years following receipt of the consent.
  • Consent is not required from transit countries, but EPA will notify the exporter of any responses from these countries.

CRT Glass Exported for Recycling

  • Processed glass (i.e., CRT glass that has been sorted) is not subject to export requirements. Unsorted glass would be considered a “broken CRT” and would be subject to export requirements.

Used Intact CRTs Exported for Reuse

  • Persons who export used, intact CRTs for reuse must submit a one-time notification to the appropriate EPA Region with contact info and a statement that they are exporting the CRTs for reuse (see 40 CFR 261.41). They must keep copies of normal business records demonstrating that each shipment will be reused.  Records must be retained for three years.

Unused Intact CRTs Exported for Reuse or Recycling

  • No regulatory requirements – these are considered commercial products or commercial chemical products being reclaimed.

A common way that “recyclers” bypass the Final Rule is to classify your CRTs as “working,” or don’t label them at all. The GAO reports that Hong Kong officials have sent back 26 containers of CRT monitors to the US from 2007 to 2008. And enforcement for the rule breakers? The GAO also says that the EPA’s ability to enfore their regulations is lacking. Even with the names of 43 “recyclers” that contacted an undercover GAO agent to sell broken CRTs overseas, the EPA doesn’t crack down.

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CompuCycle was in attendance at the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling’s annual convention, this year located in Galveston, Texas.

Among the group was Houston’s very own Yolanda Green filming for Channel 39’s Going Green with Yolanda Green. View Ms. Green’s coverage of the convention and booths…including a walking lesson from Miss Earth Texas.

Click here for the video!

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