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The Almighty Buck Hardware

British Columbia To Charge Recycling Fee 172

Posted by kdawson
from the pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Next week the province of British Columbia will begin adding a recycling fee to new computers and TVs to pay for their free electronics recycling program. The list of what is acceptable for recycling is short, namely computers, printers, and TVs — you cannot recycle personal audio players or cell phones. What is unclear is whether the definition of 'desktop computer' includes self-built computers, and if so, their plans for adding fees for individual components such as motherboards, etc." The article notes that the recovered e-waste will not be sent to developing countries for processing. But one report says that the e-waste won't be recycled at all, but rather burned in a smelter.
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British Columbia To Charge Recycling Fee

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  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 28, 2007 @05:40PM (#20026441)
    Next week the province of British Columbia will begin adding a RECYCLING FEE to new computers and TVs to pay for their FREE electronics recycling program.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by XanC (644172) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @05:42PM (#20026459)
      It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iknownuttin (1099999)
        It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

        I don't know about Moore (I've only seen "Roger and Me" and "9/11"), but many people have that same logic. I hear it all the time and when you try to explain to them that you really do pay for it from your tax dollars, they give this look that I can only explain by an example:
        Go to a dairy farm and start talking to a cow. That's the look you get.

        They are also the same folks who think that when they get a Federal Tax r

        • by Zironic (1112127)
          People in general are very bad at calculating real cost. It's the same with "Free extras" that you get with many products. People don't realize they've actually paid for those things.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SnapShot (171582) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @06:27PM (#20026807)
          Good point, calling the recycling program "free" is incorrect. In this case it would be better to call it a deposit on the proper disposal of your electronics. If that $2000 you just spent on your laptop doesn't include the cost to dispose of it then you're basically just assuming welfare from your fellow citizens and/or your descendants to cover the cost of its disposal and cleanup.
          • by RexRhino (769423)

            Good point, calling the recycling program "free" is incorrect. In this case it would be better to call it a deposit on the proper disposal of your electronics. If that $2000 you just spent on your laptop doesn't include the cost to dispose of it then you're basically just assuming welfare from your fellow citizens and/or your descendants to cover the cost of its disposal and cleanup.

            Or rather, a deposit on the IMPROPER disposal of your electronics.

            Instead of paying a recycling company $10 to actually, you know, recycle your electronics... there will be a government monopoly that will charge you double, and won't actually bother to recycle electronics in any meaningful way (instead they are opting to burn them down in an smelter). This will put the people who actually recycle/reuse electronics in a responsible way out of buisness.

            They are charging for "proper disposal", the same way th

            • by SnapShot (171582)
              I don't actually disagree with you. The perfect world would have everyone paying to dispose of their electronics and other waste responsibly and, just as important, understand that the price tag at BestBuy is only part of the Total Cost of Ownership. In other words, a magical world where everyone carts their old monitor down to the free-market monitor recyclers and happily pay some money for the privilege.

              The problem is (and where most libertarian utopias fall apart) is that without an economic incentive
              • by RexRhino (769423)

                You and I agree that a government solution is not the best possible solution but fail to offer an alternate scenario based on anything but the futile hope that people will take responsibility for their actions.

                Two questions:

                1. Why is it futile to expect people to take responsible actions for themselves? At some point, for civil society to function, it depends on most people doing the right thing on their own most of the time. Most people would voluntarily take their electronics down to the free-market elect

                • by SnapShot (171582)
                  1. Because I'm a cynic and I haven't seen a situation where my cynicism isn't justified. Even in relatively green cities like Portland, OR and Seattle, WA the percentage of recycling isn't particularly high. In cities like Baltimore, MD it's almost non-existent. And, even if education could inspire a non-trivial percentage of the population to recycle their electronics, are we going to depend on the government to properly educate the citizens and how are we going to pay for this massive education campaig
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Exactly. What is important about this change is not the mis-use of the word "free", but the shifting of the burden to the purchaser, rather than to the tax payer. That's good policy. A tax funded system is better than nothing and in some cases it's necessary to do it this way, but on the whole, it's better to shift the burden to the purchaser/user. Also good policy is to not shift the burden to the recycler, who you are trying to encourage, not penalize.

          The one troubling thing is about how they plan on disp
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Mistlefoot (636417)
            "The one troubling thing is about how they plan on disposing of the waste."

            Yeah. Destroy it.

            I still use an older Compaq laptop (333mhz, 128mb of Ram) as a web server for a not very busy local sports league. It runs an Ubuntu lamp install and has a phpbb forum and about 100 unique visitors per day. Speed of the machine is never an issue.

            I also use another old Compaq (233mhz, 192mb of Ram) as a web browsing machine. It's also useful for updating the webserver as all my code I change is done via text edito
            • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

              by mrbcs (737902) * on Saturday July 28, 2007 @09:47PM (#20028179)
              Here in Alberta, we call it Advance Disposal Surcharge. When you buy a new computer, tv etc, you get charged a fee to dispose of it later. This is brilliant. The stations will accept any electronics for free right now. This keeps all the old shit that hadn't had a surcharge charged, from the landfills. (payment of surcharge is not a pre-requisite to dispose of old equipment)

              The collection stations then ship all this electronics to Calgary or Edmonton to be processed. (sometimes, if you work there or know someone there they will let you scavenge)Machines that are still viable are resold to computer dealers like me to be re-used.

              Machines that are too old are stripped and the components are sent to the proper place to be recycled. Plastics get melted down, metals get smelted out etc. No, the system is not perfect, but it keeps the old tv's and computers out of our land fills.

              Hopefully B.C. isn't re-inventing the wheel and they will have a similar system.

              • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
                Hopefully B.C. isn't re-inventing the wheel and they will have a similar system.

                Well, based on what at least one of TFAs said, they're not going to. They're just planning on handing everything over to a group of electronics manufacturers, who'll then ship everything to a smelter to be incinerated.

                Good way to eliminate the secondary market for electronics.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by the_womble (580291)
            The other problem with it is that by forcing the cost to be paid at purchase, rather than on disposal, it removes the incentive to re-use.

            The best thing to do with an old PC is to try and find a new use for it (or sell it to someone who can use it). If disposal is free, it will, in many cases, become cheaper to simply let the government dispose of it.
            • by Fishead (658061)
              Removes the incentive to re-use? I would argue that by increasing the replacement price you have added an incentive to hang on to it for a while longer.

              But I am in BC, and not eager about the chance to pay more for my electronics. Hopefully they don't fill in the internet hole for a while.
          • by Znork (31774)
            "What is important about this change is not the mis-use of the word "free", but the shifting of the burden to the purchaser, rather than to the tax payer."

            As long as it has no other negative effects; take a look at "intellectual property", which is the ultimate privatized taxation scheme. The burden of paying for the system is shifted to the consumer, but the producer has no interest at all in providing the economy with the most efficient solution to the problem, but rather uses it to maximize revenue strea
        • Same thing with insurance. They tack on all sorts of benefits you don't want, and when you ask for the paired-down version they tell you that you may as well take them cause they're "free".

          Doubling the benefits if I die by accident is a good example. It's utterly beyond me why I would want that, yet sure in hell it costs me money.
        • I can tell you, I was SHOCKED TO DEATH the first time I did some with earned income credit.

          Some people genuinely do have negative tax return figures, and when filing, get more than they paid in over the year- a net negative for federal over the year.

      • by Tatarize (682683)
        Well, he says it's free because you don't have to pay and it's cheaper than what we're paying now. If you look, the US pays more for healthcare than anybody and we receive not only bad service but significantly less service than we could if the services themselves were paid for rather than giving lots of money to insurance companies, whose best interest is served by letting you die.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

        No, you right-wing retard, it is called common sense. If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free. Mentioning that a good or service is free to the person receiving it does not imply that the good or service materialised out of thin air or is not paid for at some other point along the chain.

        If you stop me in the street and ask me for directions, and I help you out without asking for a fee in return, I am giving you a free service. It is irrelevant that you as

        • by Graff (532189)

          If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free.
          If the government is providing something for "no charge" then they probably already charged you for it through your taxes. Just because you didn't explicitly pay for it that doesn't mean that you got it for free.
          • If the government is providing something for "no charge" then they probably already charged you for it through your taxes. Just because you didn't explicitly pay for it that doesn't mean that you got it for free.

            Did you miss the entire discussion? I went into some detail about how not paying for something you receive means you've got it for free.

            • by Firethorn (177587)
              Do you pay taxes? If so, it's not free. It's simply that you don't receive a separate bill for the service, it's bundled into your income/sales/property taxes. In the case of the article, it's now a separate fee, much like the tire disposal fee I paid when I last bought a set of tires. Sure, they disposed of my old ones, but I had to pay the fee even when I bought my snow tires - which wasn't a trade in set, I even bought separate rims for them. In exchange, any place that sells tires would have to tak
              • You seem to have missed most of the discussion.
                • by Firethorn (177587)
                  Nope - followed it all the way back.

                  My point still stands. NOTHING the government provides is free. There's always a price hidden somewhere - usually a quite outrageous one.

                  Let's take federal school subsidies. These are programs where schools get money from the feds for this or that, such as new computers, textbooks, security guards, whatever.

                  Because of the complexities that are federal programs only a third of the dollars that congress provides to the department reach the school. The rest are eaten up
                  • The fact that you are still giving examples of hidden costs means you have missed the point I made at great length.
                    • by Firethorn (177587)
                      The fact that the costs are hidden doesn't mean it's there, so an intelligent person should realize that even if he's not charged everytime he goes to the doctor that it still costs money. Same with car insurance - the less people use it, the less the insurance has to be, which is why good drivers tend to be charged less for insurance.

                      Making all the costs hidden tends to encourage overconsumption, which ends up costing more money. When it's distributed like a government health care plan would be, it ends
                    • The fact that the costs are hidden doesn't mean it's [not] there
                      Straw man.
            • by reboot246 (623534)
              Nothing the government does is "free". Or are you one of the millions who don't pay taxes? Somebody has to pay even if you don't.
            • by Graff (532189)
              OK lets take one of your examples:

              If you stop me in the street and ask me for directions, and I help you out without asking for a fee in return, I am giving you a free service. It is irrelevant that you as a consumer or a taxpayer are part of a system that has, for example, provided us with streets to talk about, or which has provided me with healthcare to be able to be there. It is also free even if I decide I will only grant these requests if other people have similarly helped me out.

              Now this analogy falls apart when you compare it to how government programs REALLY work. The government doesn't have random helpful people walking around giving out stuff free of charge. Instead the government has PAID employees whose JOB it is to provide services for you. These people get paid from money which you gave to the government in the form of TAXES. There is nothing for free, if the government doesn't collect taxes then these people don't get paid and then th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by _Mustang (96904)

          No, you right-wing retard, it is called common sense. If the government or anyone else provides it for no charge, it is by definition free. Mentioning that a good or service is free to the person receiving it does not imply that the good or service materialised out of thin air or is not paid for at some other point along the chain.

          I'm not trying to be inflammatory but frankly, with that kind of argument it seems you're more likely the retard than he.
          You clearly have forgotten the purpose of government and the manner in which it is supposed to go about doing that purpose.
          The basic premise of government is to form a collective which is empowered by "people" to run certain affairs on their behalf, right? And the manner of providing funding is typically through control of the land/air/sea/etc resources and of late - taxation and more ta

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by epine (68316)
            You've just argued yourself into a puff of non-existence. If you state, rightly, that the concept of "free" (of charge) in the global definition is non-existent in practice, then the local definition of "free" is free to prevail linguistically, and the local definition of free is that there is no cost at the time of transaction (perhaps it was paid for ahead of time). Almost everything in life that initially appears "free" has strings attached. Even sex with your spouse.

            The "out of thin air" definition o
            • by AdamWill (604569)
              You could all just use the standard and abundantly clear form of words the U.K. figured out to describe the N.H.S. several decades ago - "free at the point of delivery" - and SHUT UP ALREADY. sheesh.
          • The basic premise of government is to form a collective which is empowered by "people" to run certain affairs on their behalf, right?

            Indeed. Which makes it not a corporation taking money in strict exchange for products, but instead a very different public body that does public service with one hand, and takes taxes with the other in order to handle inflation. (Remember that the state can print as much money as it likes, so taxation is purely to keep the overall amount of money out there from spiralling upwards.)

            And the manner of providing funding is typically through control of the land/air/sea/etc resources and of late - taxation and more taxation. That means that anything, ANYTHING for which tax moneys and government revenues were applied are paid services.

            So, if you don't leave any rubbish outside, or if you don't use the streets much, the state lowers your taxes accordingly?

            • "Remember that the state can print as much money as it likes, so taxation is purely to keep the overall amount of money out there from spiralling upwards"

              Actually printing money is a form of taxation. Whoever gets to print the money taxes the rest who don't. Think about it.

              It is a great advantage to the USA that so many countries trade in US dollars, and many keep billions of it in reserve. A vast amount of USD is outside the USA.

              1) The US Gov can print more money and automatically "tax" everyone else (incl
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mr. Picklesworth (931427) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @10:13PM (#20028359) Homepage
        Look at it this way:
        Is it nicer to go to a place where you must fork over cash to do anything even after passing through the gate, or to go to an all expenses payed resort?
        I know I would go with the latter. Sure, getting through the gate costs much more money, but once you're across, it is relaxing. You don't have to walk around clutching your wallet. You spend money at a much more consistent (manageable) rate.
        Also, though this is more specific to taxes, (assuming it is a sliding scale, as it should be) that cost is rarely enough to cause a problem even if you have little money, but you still get the same services.

        Unfortunately, the BC government completely sucks right now, so don't take these actions as any example of that in action. They lowered taxes, and to compensate for the "saved money" we now have to pay for many things that were previously payed for entirely via taxes. (It's a popular action amongst the right wing governments. Magically "cut taxes" as though they are magicians who conjure money out of thin air, then quietly incinerate every public program that the last government spent valuable time putting into place. Profit!).

        Take a look at BC's parks and camp sites (before the BC "Liberals" got in). Through taxes, we got some really good quality services "for free". Sure, they had to be payed for through taxes, but after that, people could just go ahead and enjoy them.
        No big ticket booth, no security perimeter, no worries about available money, no wallet clutching.
        Someone could argue that taxes mean paying for services you don't use, but I disagree. I think that taxes are a lot like those "all expenses payed" resorts. The stuff provided, someone normally wouldn't bother paying for (or, thus doing), even though it is really great stuff.
        On the other hand, if he has already payed for it, taking that next step is simple and painless. Stuff like that causes people to better appreciate the place they live, thus to stay healthy and to be content.

        Believe me: It's great to be able to go outside without an overwhelming fear that "I do not have the money to be hurt".
        • by drsquare (530038)

          Is it nicer to go to a place where you must fork over cash to do anything even after passing through the gate, or to go to an all expenses payed resort?

          The former. With the latter, you've paid for things even if you don't want them, so you end up forcing yourself to use them, even if you don't really like them. You're effectively trapped there, you can't go anywhere else because you've paid for being there.

          Not to mention all-inclusive resorts generally have the atmosphere of holiday camps.

      • It's called Michael Moore logic. If the government provides it, it's by definition "free".

        It'll be free to some people. People who can't afford new computers will get used, and then when it gets so old that it's completely unusable or it breaks, then they'll have something to do with it without spending money that they don't have. If I buy a $2000 computer from Dell I'm not going to notice $5 or $10 for recycling, so I'd rather pay it upfront than have to spend it later or push the cost onto some poor person or organization I donate it to later.

        Of course, that would be great if they where

      • I haven't seen sicko yet, but does he refer to it as "free" in the movie? when searching for "free healthcare" "michael moore" [google.com], all I seem to pull up is conservative websites bashing him... (as opposed to searching only for "michael moore", where only half of the sites that come up are bashing him ;)
      • I only saw a few clips from sicko, but one that completely astounded me was where Michael Moore acts all amazed at how the cashier's office in a UK hospital is not for receiving payments, but for compensating people who had to bear certain costs in getting care. (I think it was transportation, or "transport" since it's UK.)

        Okay, cool, got it: no additional costs for people when they use a hospital.

        But then right afterward, he does this whole sequence where he shows all this cash being handed out, highlight
    • There is a reason they call it Vancouver B.C. --> Vancouver, Bring Cash

  • ain't no mo free...

    On a more serious note, there is more value to be extracted from electronic junk then for the same weight of ore in mining.

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for improving the recycling process and maybe adjust the manufacturing process to accomodate the end life cycle of recycling.
  • not news (Score:5, Informative)

    by ardiesr (861538) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @05:48PM (#20026513)
    This fee is already charged in Alberta for the last couple of years. It was also introduced in Saskatchewan in February.

    It could also soon be charged in Ontario:
    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Science/2007/06/12/425 4704-cp.html [canoe.ca]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RealGrouchy (943109)
      It doesn't surprise me that the Ontario Government will want to do this, too.

      Of course, whether it makes sense to do so will not matter to the Ontario government. What matters is it doesn't cost them anything, and it makes them look like they've done something for the environment.

      Consider, for example, how quickly the Ontario passed a ban on incandescent lightbulbs after the idea was first raised in Australia.

      - RG>
    • by mauriceh (3721) <maurice.harddata@com> on Saturday July 28, 2007 @09:01PM (#20027829) Homepage
      Yes, we are a computer integrator/reseller in Alberta, and have had to charge these fees for a couple of years now.
      Then Sask jumped on, now BC, and soon all the rest of the provinces.
      But, and it is a BIG "BUTT":
      We now have to collect separately for each province we sell into, report each month to each province, remit to each province
      The paperwork for this equals one person-day per month for all the reporting and filing.
      This is a classic example of what should have been done at the federal level, and now is more of a burden than a benefit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canuck57 (662392)

      This fee is already charged in Alberta for the last couple of years. It was also introduced in Saskatchewan in February.

      While quite true. Why not do a complete job and have the prison system take ALL garbage, sort it into recycle. Aluminum here, paper there, biodegradable here, electronics there in stead of sitting on their asses for release date.

      And cut yet another form of taxation. GST+PST+EST is getting tax nuts. Almost 20% not including excise. As it IS about TAXES -- they want more of YOUR mone

  • But, and I emphasize the word 'but', simply having these old consumer electronics materials carted off to an smelter in trail is ever so head scratching.

    what's truly ever so head-scratching is this author's command of grammar.
  • Not New (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pipingguy (566974) * on Saturday July 28, 2007 @06:11PM (#20026695) Homepage
    Alberta already has something similar for monitors and televisions.
  • by Mspangler (770054) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @06:38PM (#20026893)
    "But one report says that the e-waste won't be recycled at all, but rather burned in a smelter."

    But dropping it in a smelter is recycling. Junk goes in, refined metal comes out. Smelters do not run on solid fuel anymore, they can't grind up the circuit boards and feed them to the burners.

    The organics will burn in the charge, the fiberglass will melt into the slag, the metals will dissolve into the melt.

    I forgot how to separate the lead from the copper. (pyrometallurgy class was in 1988, and I went the hydrometallurgy route instead)

    Now I'll have to look it up.

    The pyro class took a field trip to Trail, neat place if you are into displays of brute power. Sometimes I miss mining. Phys met is so boring; did it corrode .005 in/yr, or 0.010? zzzzzz But it's what pays the bills.

    • The organics will burn in the charge, the fiberglass will melt into the slag, the metals will dissolve into the melt.

      If it's profitable to obtain raw metals in this fashion, why do they need to charge a fee to do it?

      You don't need to charge a fee to recycle aluminum cans. Well before recycling was widespread in the US, I remember hauling garbage bags full of empties down to a local recycling center, which then paid *us* for delivering valuable aluminum to them. If nobody's willing to pay you for your old
      • by Firethorn (177587)
        I'd have to agree with this. Especially given that certain materials in the components are indeed present in larger quantities than they are in raw ore, combined with that there are more metals period would tend to indicate that the only benefit to using raw ore would be that of quantity - you have to collect computer components from all over to get enough to make it worth firing up the smelter, while you can built your refinery on site of the mine and process however many tones of ore that you feel like.
        • I don't think that it's very easy/efficent to separate most of these things when they're all together in a sort of mish-mosh.

          Likewise, despite being cheap, you've gotta make sure the lead is disposed of properly, along with the various other nasty material that goes into making CRTs and capacitors.

          Silicon's so chemically inert that you may have trouble re-processing it efficiently.
          • by Firethorn (177587)
            I don't think that it's very easy/efficent to separate most of these things when they're all together in a sort of mish-mosh.

            It's not really that hard either given a properly set up smelter. Besides, they have to do it anyways [miningbasics.com] even when working with raw ore.

            Likewise, despite being cheap, you've gotta make sure the lead is disposed of properly, along with the various other nasty material that goes into making CRTs and capacitors.

            Who's talking about disposing of it? Lead, despite being toxic, is still a val
      • by Eccles (932)
        If it's profitable to obtain raw metals in this fashion, why do they need to charge a fee to do it?

        Who said it was profitable? The raw materials value and energy produced may be worth less than the cost of running the operation. However, it reduces the expense of landfilling the items, and reduces the amount of certain unpleasant chemicals in the landfill. It also might encourage the reuse of certain parts of the system (say, doing a motherboard swap instead of buying a new system) which would further re
        • The raw materials value and energy produced may be worth less than the cost of running the operation. However, it reduces the expense of landfilling the items

          So I get to pay a fee to reduce the expenses of a landfill company? That's nothing less than a subsidy to the guy running the landfill.
          • by Eccles (932)
            So I get to pay a fee to reduce the expenses of a landfill company?

            Landfills are typically government run, AFAIK. If they're not, they're generally government or neighborhood contracts, and get paid by the amount dumped. So you're reducing your tax bill, not giving a private enterprise money.
      • If it's profitable to obtain raw metals in this fashion, why do they need to charge a fee to do it?

        MRF's need to make money to operate, and it can either be through material recovery or from funding/fees/deposits or a combination of both. So in many cases, MRFs are only allowed access to the aluminum in blue boxes on the condition they recycle the glass (little profit) and paper (no profit, really) as well. It's not really worth their time. In the same way, I suspect that while some PC components are qui
  • There is more gold and copper per pound in e-waste then there is in gold or copper ore. There is a LOT of potential to "mine" this for the metals, however the lead and mercury content is also high....
    • by wkitchen (581276)
      Just what is it that you think a smelter [wikipedia.org] does?
    • by Mspangler (770054)
      "however the lead and mercury content is also high"

      Lead is worth good money. When I toured the Trail smelter it had a lead side and a zinc side. I'm not sure how much mercury there is in the electronic scrap, but it should be recoverable. And if you can collect it, all these compact fluorescent lights need it to work. So that will recycle too.

       
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @07:10PM (#20027109) Homepage
    Since Jan 2005, California has been charging an E-Waste Recovery Fee for some time now. Whenever you sell something to a California resident that has a display (CRT/LCD/etc), you have to charge this fee and give it to the state:

        4-15 inches : $6
        15-35 inches: $8
        35+ inches : $10

    The fee is not a deposit either, like you have on soda cans. If you take your CRT to the dump later, even if you can prove you paid that E-Waste fee, you still have to pay the dump to take your trash.

    More Info: http://www.erecycle.org/ [erecycle.org]
    • Um, all the collection sites take the equipment for free. You drive in, tell them you have e-waste to dispose of, and they direct you to the bins. Toss it in and drive out. I've done this in four counties and never paid a single cent. That's sort of the whole point of the fee.
      • by DavidD_CA (750156)
        You might have experienced one of the many free dump stations (or even a "Dump Day") where you're giving your electronics to a private business. They take your stuff and melt it down and sell it.

        Had you have taken your stuff to a county dump, they'd have charged you their normal fees.

        At least, that's how it is here in San Joaquin County. But if we give our stuff to Waste Management, it's free.
        • Neither Yolo nor Santa Clara County landfills charge for depositing these goods. There were no charges at collection sites in Contra Costa and San Francisco counties as well. These were all locations listed at the counties' respective waste disposal websites, at varying times and in varying quantities from two monitors to an entire pickup bed of decommissioned hardware.

          The whole point of assessing this fee is so that waste collection sites will take these products without hassle and I have had no problems
          • by DavidD_CA (750156)
            Hmmm.... good info! I will have to check into this stuff next time I dump something.

            It was an official county site, so I'm sure they'd have to participate. It's not like I could really argue with the person though.

            Thanks!
  • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Saturday July 28, 2007 @07:16PM (#20027165) Journal
    ... When they don't actually recycle the product, but apparently only dispose of it?
    • by EraseEraseMe (167638) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @07:30PM (#20027255)
      How do you think metal are recycled exactly? Does Superman come in and bend broken motherboards into brand new steel?

      No, they're melted down and leeched into seperate metals.
      • by mark-t (151149)
        There's more to e-waste than metal though. There's also plastic, glass, and other elements that would just be wasted if thrown into a smelter where only the metal is collected.
        • by Graff (532189)
          The plastic is just fuel for the process, it reduces the amount of oil or natural gas you would need to run the smelter. The glass actually helps you a bit because it becomes part of the slag which assists in the separation process.

          With a well-designed process you can get pretty good efficiencies out of the smelter and also keep emissions into the environment at a low level. With modern smokestack scrubbers and effluent recovery systems you can re-capture elements that you can turn around and sell in orde
          • by Firethorn (177587)
            All the more reason to wonder why they'd have to charge a fee to do it, you'd expect them to be able to turn a profit. 'We'll take your old computer for *FREE*!' As they gloat about the valuable elements in it.

            After all, that's what many places will do with cars.
  • A smelter isn't an incinerator.

    A smelter is the thing that's used to take ore and turn it into usable metal. You know, like the thing in T2 that Arnold jumps into at the end.

    Sounds like they've decided the easiest way to extract the metal from the electronic waste is to burn off everything that isn't metal, then separate the metals back out.

    Now, there may be questions about how environmentally sound it is to burn off plastic and fiberglass, but this is definitely recycling.

  • From TFA:

    The list of what is acceptable for recycling is short, namely computers, printers, and TVs ? you cannot recycle personal audio players or cell phones.
    So, they're supposed to take everything else and throw it into the ravine at the end of the street?

    Seriously, ISTM that a recycling program which takes all electronics would be a better idea. Otherwise this other stuff will just go into a landfill.

  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @11:03PM (#20028713)
    Everyone be scared! Everyone scream at the evil things portrayed in the article! ... Or, instead you can educate yourself.

    Generally people have no clue what happens in the mining industry, how metals are actually extracted from the ground and refined. I LOVE it when I see people protesting the mining industry in general, while using their cell phones, full of metals, while wearing clothes that were made on metal machines, with their metal car or bike parked nearby. They have no clue. It's great fun showing them the irony of their actions.

    This ignorant FUD article is no different.

    If it wasn't for smelters, the computer parts being recycled would never have existed in the first place! but people read the headlines and just assume the worst.

    What happens when you recycle a pop can? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.
    What happens when your car is recycled? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.
    What happens when to pretty much any metal product when it is no longer useful? ... it gets melted down in a smelter.

    It's about time the same happened to computer parts.

    The government of British Columbia used to sell surplus computers and monitors as scrap.

    The news media here caused great embarassment to the BC government a few years ago when they exposed the fact that the scrap ended up in the shocking Chinese 'recycle' system we've all seen on TV ... where peasants smash and burn the parts in the open air of their villages and manually stir vats of acids filled with the metallic ashes to recover the metals, where they let all the chemicals run down the streets into the local soils and water sources.

    So the BC government actually did something about it.

    Smelting it here in BC in a controlled manner where emissions are regulated, where thousands of people will NOT have their lives greatly shortened by the process, where ground water, lakes, rivers, and soil will NOT be destroyed by the process, sounds like a much better system to me.

    • Well said. Over here in the UK it's called Nimby-ism - Not In My Back Yard (which suggests the expression might have come from over the pond).

      People have to grow up and realise throwing away stuff has consequences. Well done to BC for taking responsibility of their own rubbish rather than messing up some third world country with it.

      As an aside, I heard that its becoming more profitable to recycle scrap than to mine for some metals, is this true? As in, it's cheaper to melt down and process X weight of proce
  • They are as follows:

    Television (18" and smaller) $15.00
    Television (19"- 29") $25.00
    Television (30" - 45") $30.00
    Television (46" and larger) $45.00
    CPUs (including mouse, keyboard, cables, speakers.) $10.00 (basically, $10 for your entire computer)
    Printers/printer combos $8.00
    Laptops/electronic notebooks $5.00
    Computer monitors $12.00

    http://www3.gov.ab.ca/env/waste/ewaste/index.html [gov.ab.ca]

    And if it means all these electronics are going to be recycled/reused in a more efficient manner, I

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