Regulators: Tough Markets Justify Paying Recyclers More

Regulators: Tough Markets Justify Paying Recyclers More

Florida Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will increase the per-pound payments it offers to approved e-scrap businesses that collect and recycle electronics under the state program.

eCycle Florida cited rising business costs, high inflation, and trade impacts from the conflict in Ukraine as reasons for raising the CRT recycling rate to 85cs per pound. The non-CRT recycling rate was raised to 87cs to $1.03 per kilogram. These changes will take effect on July 1.

Florida’s Covered Electronic Waste Recycling Program is the oldest state-regulated e-scrap program in America. Consumers pay fees at the point of sale for electronics with screens. When electronics are collected and recycled, the state collects this money and pays it to escrap businesses. The current program covers CRT TVs and monitors as well as LCD TVs, laptops, LCD TVs, and plasma TVs (except plasma projection TVs), and LCD smart displays, tablets, and portable DVD players. The program will be expanded by a recent decision. It will now include OLED display devices as well as LCD smart devices.

In 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020, the department increased rates. However, the fees that consumers pay have not always increased in line with inflation. eCycle Florida reduced the fees for consumers in 2020 after years of decreasing weights recycled through the program. This was to reduce the fund balance. The department has kept fees the same for the past two years.

The program saw a decrease of 220,000,000 pounds in 2008 to 73 million pounds in 2021.

Numerous reasons for rate increases cited

In deciding whether to increase the rates, regulators considered a variety of market-specific and industry-specific factors.

eCycle Florida staff provided background information that noted that CRTs still make up the majority of residual CRT display devices. However, there are few downstream outlets. The majority of CRT glass in the program is disposed of in landfills. However, hazardous waste landfill fees are on the rise in recent years.

The department also noted the effects that China’s National Sword Imports Restriction Campaign had on e–plastics markets as well as the Basel Convention Amendment which increased restrictions on scrap plastics trade. eCycle Florida reported that both have affected e-plastics prices by reducing overseas markets. E-scrap companies also benefit from the fact that metals prices have risen in 2021, and remain above pre-pandemic levels.

eCycle Florida staff pointed out that while eCycle Florida did an analysis of cost information provided by e-scrap processing companies, this year’s department’s decision to raise rates was based more on external factors like inflation and the war in Ukraine.

The document states that inflation is characterized by a significant percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index over the past year. Fuel prices have increased almost 50% over the past 12 months. “Additionally it is not known how long or how the war in Ukraine may last.

Staff also mentioned labor market problems and lingering supplier chain impacts that were triggered by pandemic.

Staff also pointed out the profit margin impacts of the changing end of life stream with less CRT weight, and more flat-panel display devices. Florida’s recycling program saw a significant increase in non-CRT devices last year. This was the first time that CRTs were recycled at a higher weight. The LCD and LED displays weigh less than CRTs, have less intrinsic value and take more time to disassemble.

eCycle Florida stated that there was uncertainty and suggested that the department seek authority from the legislature for changing the payment rates more frequently than every two years.

eCycle Florida reports that such a change would require more staff to survey costs and calculate rates. However, it would lower the perceived risk of setting payment rates for two years during economic volatility which is causing anxiety for both industry and government.

This post was written by Steven Elia Co-Founder and Recycling Director at eCycle Florida. eCycle Florida is a R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Our processes and procedures are dedicated to the proper destruction and recycling of your electronics. eCycle Florida is your go-to when looking for an electronic recycling center in Tampa. To learn more click here!

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