2010-05-25 – ANJHHWC Meeting Minutes

Draft Minutes- ANJHHWC Meeting of May 25, 2010:

Call to Order – President Ron Berenato opened the meeting at 9:25 a.m. by welcoming all at the Waterfront Baseball Park (Suite PP).  Additionally, Ron thanked Daniel Napoleon for the help he and his staff provided in obtaining this room for the meeting.

Focusing On Electronics Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

Guy Watson, NJDEP started up the discussion by providing some updates on what the NJDEP is working on with respect to the implementation of New Jersey’s pending statewide electronics management program.

  • There will be a meeting on this topic for stakeholders sponsored the NJDEP scheduled for June 10, 2010 and it will take place at the Burlington County Eco-Complex.  More details will come out soon.
  • Preliminary national sales data for TVs will soon be released by the NJDEP and sent to manufacturers for their review and comment.  The manufacturers’ plans are due to the NJDEP by August 15, 2010 with the implementation due to start at the beginning of 2011.  Guy stated that NJ’s statewide program and the manufactures’ proportional calculation of this sales data most resembles those used by Washington State. The only real difference is that Washington also includes schools and institutions in their calculation where New Jersey’s calculation does not.
  • It was also mentioned that Senator Smith has a bill posted, S.1977, that may impact on some of the implementation of the pending program so we will have to watch to see if the bill gets adopted and what it contains.  Andriana Kontovrakos of Sims Recycling Solutions stated they have seen some of the elements in this bill and plan on providing comments on it to Senator Smith.

Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM) was represented by Frank Marella and David Thompson.  David provided and introduction to MRM and described how economies of scale help MRM achieve its goal, as well as the state’s goal, of providing comprehensive electronics management programs.  MRM currently works with about 35 different electronics manufacturers as well as most of the major TV manufactures although Samsung is currently not one of them.  It is MRM’s intention to submit a plan that meets the NJDEP’s guidelines.  Additionally, MRM will offer to other manufacturers the ability to sign on to the MRM program as a means for them to meet their own obligations.  This in turn should help MRM achieve the desired economies of scale to make the program successful.

With respect to the demanufacturers selected to manage the e-waste, MRM has a requirement of no-export and that no prison labor be used.  After that, MRM evaluates the demanufacturers’ processes, performance as well as price.  While MRM tends to use previously selected demanufacturing companies that they have relationships with and have be already approved, MRM is not against using new demanufacturers in local markets where they establish new programs.  They just first have to audit and approve any new companies.  With respect to standards and accreditation, MRM accepts R2 with the additional no-export, no prison labor requirement.  Additionally, they will accept the E-stewards standard but this requires the demanufacturers to audit themselves in accordance with E-stewards’ standards.

Since Walter Acorn has taken a new position Frank Marella is going to continue with the outreach effort that Walter previously began with several of the NJ counties.  Frank Marella has been with MRM since its founding and actually lives in NJ.  Frank mentioned that MRM runs the largest program in Oregon which itself runs the largest and most successful electronics management program in the country.

While MRM works with most of the TV manufacturers in the country, it varies from state to state.  Manufactures can sign up with MRM at their website, http://www.MRMRecycling.com but what exactly participation with MRM entails varies based on the regulations in each individual state and the program established by MRM in response to such regulations.

With the soon to be released NJDEP manufacturers’ obligation targets, MRM and the manufacturers will soon know the extent of what they have to collect.  The challenge is to set up a statewide network in advance of when the program begins and then to persuade the individual manufacturers to sign on to the MRM program.  People should appreciate the difficulty and the coordination effort that MRM undertakes in establishing new programs and getting manufacturers signed up.

Discussion next ensued about CRT glass recycling and the difficulty in accomplishing it with the severely limited markets that are available.  Jim Entwistle of Newtech Recycling mentioned how if you can even find a market for the glass it’s becoming harder to use them because more work is now required to clean glass to the point that it is acceptable to the glass markets.  Glass recycling is accomplished by exporting the glass which is acceptable only after it has been properly cleaned.  The cleaning of the glass in preparation for export was next discussed in some detail.

JoAnn Gemenden inquired about how MRM can partner with counties, especially since counties have existing contracts to handle the E-waste and these contracts may not have the requirements like no export, no prison labor, that MRM has.  Mr. Thompson responded by stating they still have to figure out how it makes sense to work with local governments and local demanufacturers in New Jersey.  MRM has not yet audited and/or approved any facilities in New Jersey.  The question still unanswered for counties is whether the new programs to begin in 2011 will replace the programs currently run by primarily counties or will there be a need to run the new manufacturer-based programs with the county programs in parallel and over-lapping until the manufacturer programs establish themselves as the default way to manage these materials in New Jersey?

Concerns were expressed about a program like MRM’s anticipated one and the issue of them closing down once their reach their target.  A credit system for the material handled will be established by NJDEP that will hopefully eliminate this concern.  The concept is that a company that collects more than its target could be paid in credits by companies that collected less than their targets as a way to reward those that do more than their pro-rated shares while punishing those that do not do enough.  The trick is in pricing the credits as commodities so they induce the desired outcome.
Mr. Watson stated he expects the first year of NJ’s programs to look similar to Washington’s programs with an estimated annual generation of E-waste to be about 5 lbs. per person.  This would be significantly higher than what has been collected before since it will be under a mandated program as opposed to the voluntary program which has been operating in the past.

Mr. Thompson raised a concern that if MRM sets up a comprehensive program in accordance with New Jersey’s requirements and approved by the NJDEP and if targets were not reached that MRM would be penalized in the form of having to pay for credits.  In essence, “if they build it and no one comes” scenario is concerning to MRM to make sure they don’t want to get penalized after putting forth an honest effort. Mr. Watson stated it would not be the NJDEP desire to penalize such an outcome but the NJDEP will be looking at the programs prior to approving them to make sure they are comprehensive and compliant with the requirements of the law.

Mr. Thompson said that in other states they work with localities as being part of the mix within the MRM program but it changes state to state.  Sometimes they run one-day events on their own; sometimes they provide an outlet for material from one-day events run by a locality.  MRM will do what is required to be an appropriate part of the solution as they are required to do so but what the proper mix is in New Jersey still remains to be seen.  Rich Baroch suggested NJDEP notify municipalities and haulers as the 2011 implementation deadline approaches about the law and the fact that it will be illegal to collect this material from then on for disposal as opposed to recycling.

RBRC Update Todd Ellis of the RBRC gave an update on the Call2Recycle program in New Jersey.  With respect to tonnage of batteries collected under the program, in January and February, 2010 the numbers were down compared to 2009 but the previous 2 months (March and April) we have seen a rebound in the tonnage collected.  There has been a lot more education, press releases and advertisements going out at the beginning of spring 2010 promoting the Call2Recycle program so maybe that has had an impact on the results.  Mr. Ellis stated the RBRC plans on doing a postcard mailing to public agencies and emergency services to tell them about the Call2Recycle program and to hopefully get them onboard.

JoAnn Gemenden gave an update from the Battery Subcommittee on the spending program to promote this program.  In total, the ANJHHWC started with $17,000 budget with most of the money coming from the RBRC with $1,000 matching partnership contributions by Covanta and the ANJHHWC.  After spending money on some newspaper and online advertising as well as printing posters there is $8,500 remaining in the spending plan.  Much of this is to be spent on billboard advertising.  Additionally, the ANJHHWC should also produce some radio public service announcements promoting the program.

Finally, JoAnn stated that EPA may have a grant available for environmental partnerships, which the ANJHHWC has already established with Covanta and RBRC, to promote items such as our battery program.  Larry Gindoff made a motion to have the existing Battery Subcommittee look into applying for the grant.  This was seconded by Diana Vigilante.

Adjournment: Meeting was adjourned at approx. 11:00.

Executive Board Meeting – The executive board conducted one if its required quarterly meeting between 11:15 and 11:45 following the adjournment of the regular meeting.  Discussions included agreeing that for all meetings, non-members will be assessed at $25 premium over the cost of the meeting to members if they want to attend.  This fee may be waived for those presenting at the meeting but we should make an effort to solicit new members to join especially since we are now involved and spear-heading several pertinent topics such as electronics and battery recycling.

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