Kentucky Contracts Company to Recycle Government's Electronic Waste

Date: September 26, 2008

Source: Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet

Mounting concern over growing volumes of electronic waste moved the state of Kentucky to contract with Tampa FL-based Creative Recycling Systems, Inc. (CRS) to handle the estimated five million pounds of electronics scrap generated annually by the state's government agencies and institutions. To help handle the volume of e-scrap generated under the program, CRS will establish a facility in Kentucky, as well as create a Web site detailing the new program. The state hopes that selling the e-scrap back to CRS will more than offset collection expenses. Kentucky does not yet have any laws specifically addressing electronics wastes.

Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet

E-Scrap Facts and Figures

E-scrap is electronic scrap "end-of-life" telephones and cell phones, TVs, computers and associated equipment, audio/stereo gear, VCRs, DVDs, and video game consoles. This new contract will increase e-scrap recycling availability at economical levels for all state agencies and county governments that choose to participate.

Recycling electronics eCycling is encouraged because of the volume of e-scrap. According to EPA, electronics entering the waste stream each year are measured in the millions. Currently e-scrap is about two percent of the solid waste stream and is the fastest growing segment of the solid waste stream.

  • In Kentucky, more than 2,400 tons of e-scrap was collected in 2007.

  • Using the estimate that e-scrap is 2 percent of the total solid waste stream, we generated around 100,000 tons of e-scrap per year

  • This contract will result in the recycling of more than 5 million pounds of electronic scrap generated by government agencies and educational institutions in Kentucky each year.

During the 2008 session, the General Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 76, a measure that requires the Energy and Environment Cabinet to submit a report by Dec. 15 containing recommendations for a comprehensive statewide system for electronic waste disposal and recycling. Sen. Denise Harper Angel, of Louisville, sponsored this legislation.

Electronic scrap collection is increasing in the Kentucky. There are many markets for e-scrap and the industry is growing rapidly.

  • There are about 31 counties offering some type of e-scrap collection:

  • Year-round e-scrap drop-off programs are increasing across the state with 10 counties now offering it.

  • Another 21 counties offer some type of e-scrap collection, whether periodic or an annual event.
    In addition to reducing the number of items that go to the landfill, recycling can recover valuable resources:

  • Electronic products are made from precious and other metals, plastics, and glass. Reusing and recycling these conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing new products from raw ores and virgin resins.

  • Almost all of the materials used to manufacture a cell phone can be recovered to make new products. Cell phones contain a number of different metals - gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium, copper, tin, lead, brass and zinc - that can be extracted and recovered in the recycling process. The same is true of most computer devices.

Kentucky doesn't have a statute or regulation specifically regulating the disposal of electronic devices in municipal solid waste landfills.

  • Individuals may legally dispose of electronic equipment in their garbage, provided that local landfills will accept it.

  • Businesses that send electronic scrap for disposal are generators of hazardous waste and must follow federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements. If e-scrap is managed for recycling, it is not considered hazardous.

For more information, contact:
Valeria Cummings
(502) 564-4240

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin