- Newtech Recycling owner Jim Antwistle is working to change New Jersey’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act, whereby manufacturers would have less control over how recyclers do business and municipalities would have more. Currently, manufacturers must recycle an allocated weight based on the volume they sell, but they determine many of the other guidelines.
- Antwistle is pushing to see that out-of-state recyclers pay recycling fees, just as in-state recyclers currently do.
- Newtech—which recycled 7.5 million pounds of electronics last year—has a client base of consumers, municipalities, and corporations. However, its in-state client base has dropped dramatically since Antwistle has pushed to limit manufacturers’ authority. As a result, Newtech is getting most of its business from Connecticut now and has also had to reduce its workforce by one-third since September 2015.
The debate over whether markets fare better by regulating private industry or by pulling the reigns in on government’s control is ongoing. For New Jersey e-recyclers, it seems that giving more power to private manufacturers is harmful. It's not helping municipalities forced to drop their e-cycling programs once manufacturers have met targets, leaving these governments to carry the rest of the load—which is reportedly happening across the state where recyclers contract with municipalities but charge their cost back to the manufacturers.
"I am trying to...get a new law in place that would make electronic recycling in the state sustainable — meaning put a program together that works for recyclers, municipalities, and the manufacturers," said Antwistle, as reported in MyCentralJersey.com. He stated that manufacturers protesting his stand are dropping contracts with him, causing him to charge municipalities more.
The laws in Connecticut seem to better support recyclers.
"[In New Jersey] the manufacturers control who they work with, how they work with them, what amount of material they are going to gain from that source and also the rate that they pay," Antwistle said to MyCentralJersey.com. "Once they hit the allocated number the state has given them, they stop. In Connecticut, you basically bid a rate to the state, they approve us, and we go out and get as much material as we possibly can."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has recently made decisions that have not supported the recycling industry. In January, he vetoed two pieces of recycling-based legislation: one that would have put more responsibility on paint producers, and one that's in line with what Antwistle wants for e-waste recycling.