ECS Refining, an electronics recycler, has shut down. Based in Texas, the recycler had been handling 41 percent of the material collected under the Oregon E Cycles program, which is financed by manufacturers of computers, TVs, monitors and printers under a product stewardship program. ECS and other E-waste processors break down the TVs, computers and other electronics, removing toxic elements and recycling or reusing metals and other components.
In the short-term, the state’s largest processer of E-waste, URT Solutions, will take up the slack caused by ECS’s closure. In the long-term, the state and two private entities that handle Oregon’s E-waste are looking for a replacement. ECS is the third large electronics recycling firm to leave the Oregon market in the past two years.
A majority of U.S. states now have electronics recycling laws the state expects new bills in the coming year to attempt to address the new barriers. Oregon created the E-Cycle program a decade ago. In 2017, more than 24 million pounds of E-Waste were collected and recycled under the program. However, the volume of recycled electronics is dropping, which may be due to the declining sizes of televisions. Another factor is that many folks have finished clearing out stockpiles of older electronics gathering dust in attics and garages. This year, the state hopes to collect nearly 22 million pounds of electronics. That still amounts to more than five pounds per person in Oregon.