Last Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of industry experts took to the stage in Orlando to discuss the trends and challenges shaping electronics recovery right now. Here are some of the most compelling pieces of information we took away from those talks.
Flat-panel displays might not follow the CRT path. According to several experts involved in flat-panel display processing, collectors have already moved aggressively toward charging fees to accept LCD flat-panel displays, thus avoiding the financial straits seen several years ago when collection sites took in the heavy devices for free. Also, they noted there are 36 facilities currently processing cold-cathode fluorescent lamps in the U.S. “I don’t think we’ll ever see a problem with fluorescent lamp stockpiling, just because there is great infrastructure to process them currently,” said Doug Smith, Sony’s director of corporate environment, safety and health. “Really, it’s not that expensive.”
We could use a clearer definition of ITAD. The conference’s opening plenary session featured leaders of processing companies that are bringing IT asset disposition into their offerings in different ways. The conversation got interesting when panelists were asked what percentage of their revenues come from ITAD applications. “We’re close to 50-50 ITAD vs. recycling,” said Sean Magann, vice president of sales and marketing at Sims Recycling Solutions. “But it depends on how you define the terms. When we shred something for customer, it’s a service. Is that ITAD or recycling? It’s a debate we even have internally.”
Cascade Asset Management has quantified reuse and repair within the company’s own operations, finding that 30 to 35 percent of equipment that comes in is suitable for repair and reuse. CEO Neil Peters-Michaud said the company carefully monitors this statistic. “If we can just bump that up one or two percentage points, it has a tremendous impact on our bottom line financially,” Peters-Michaud said. “Turning something from recycling to reuse generates significantly more i