- The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) — working with member companies Best Buy, Dell, HP, LG, Samsung and Vizio — plans to launch a one-year pilot program to expand recycling options for electronics in Nebraska, as reported by the Omaha World-Herald.
- The companies will fund educational efforts and local programs. At the end of the year CTA will put together a report detailing the process, results and future recommendations.
- According to a CTA survey, 49% of Nebraskans know where they can recycle electronics, which is lower than a nationwide statistic of 59%.
CTA has been working with electronics manufacturers and retailers for years to facilitate collection through its eCycling Leadership Initiative. These efforts have yielded increasing amounts of material in recent years, following a pattern shown in the most recent Environmental Protection Agency data of consumer electronics being diverted in larger numbers. Based on this data the recycling rate for these products was 41.7% in 2014.
While municipalities and stores offer recycling options, the availability of these programs varies widely on a local basis. Raising awareness about these opportunities could help spur a small increase in the state's estimated 17% recycling rate but likely won't affect overall waste generation.
One way to do that would be expanding repair options for products so consumers can use them longer and recyclers can refurbish them for resale. The Fair Repair Act was introduced in Nebraska's state legislature this year — part of a national effort — but was unsuccessful. As recyclers struggle to deal with the costs of older items such as CRT units, this is seen as a solution to make e-waste programs more economically viable.