The world of e-recycling

As electronics have taken such a big place in our surroundings and everyday lives, the industry of electronic recycling has developed in a important, growing field. A proper disposal of electronics can prevent health issues (as harmful substances are being destroyed), create jobs, and benefit to the environment.

Every electronic device should finish its ”journey” in one of professional e-recycling companies.

As every field of business, e-recycling is facing several problems.
The challenges it is meeting, are mainly based in the inventory management and information security.
For example – the mobile phone alone contains precious metals (such as gold, silver and platinum), as well as hazardous materials (like lead, mercury and cadmium), and, of course base metals (copper, iron and such). This mix creates a big challenge in WIP (work in progress) management, as well as inventory management.

In order to better understand the industry, let’s review the biggest issues it is facing.

Inventory management:

A good inventory management system will secure a constant flow of the units. Both going in, and leaving the inventory. The system should be able to control the transfer of units, as well as income, to prevent overstock.

Another big aspect of inventory management is following the items – how many units are entering the factory, and making sure, that the same amount is being stored within the shelves. This can be done in two ways i.e. establishing material-purchase review and control procedures and inventory tracking system.

The goal of e-recycling is not only to re-use separate details of electronics, but also to make sure, that toxic materials could be released to the environment. Which means not only following the

As a good solution we would suggest bar-code system implementation. Bar-code systems can make every stage of operations easier, more reliable and traceable.

Work in progress (WIP) management

Work in progress can describe two different things – it can describe a physical state of inventory, or it can describe the account used to track the value of WIP. In the case of e-recycling, we are going to use WIP to describe the first.

The WIP is a material that has already entered the production process, but is not yet finished. WIP refers to all materials and partly finished products that are in various stages of the production process. WIP does not include inventory of raw material at the start of the production cycle, or finished products inventory at the end of the production cycle.

The challenge of WIP lies in the difficulty to track materials, as they are constantly being moved from process to process, or from station to station. This moving usually includes automated equipment, and it is really easy to lose track. In case, where the implemented tracking methods are manual, it is even easier to loose WIP.

It is crucial for recycling companies to have a secure, easy to use and reliable system, that offers a automated way to record, and track WIP. Millions of dollars are lost in the regular operation procedures.

The best way to make sure that the products are manufactured following the right procedures, in the specified order, and in the optimal quality, is to implement WIP tracking and route control.
Scanning points should be deployed in the factory in order to monitor product movement, and each of the scanning points should be associated with machine, operation and shop order. In order to bring additional layer of security and accountability to the manufacturing process, we suggest implementing a labor recording solution.

 

Compliance

Another really specific aspect of e-recycling is data security. With giving your electronics away, you are trusting the company to take care of your data.

Bound my several legislation, the company has to be able to provide a certificate for every destroyed memory device. Regardless, if the electronics have gathered from private, or public source.

The compliance of any memory device, is strongly regulated by many legislation. The main purpose of these legislation are the protection of privacy. And, looking at the speed of electronic development, one can judge, that these regulations will only emerge in the future.

Failing to follow these regulations, may result in fines, up to $100k per a discovered violation. These rules are so serious, that officers and directors can, and will, be held responsible for civil penalties of up to $10.000.

Here are some of the legislation, that are bounding e-recyclers to protect the privacy of previous device owners, and properly registrate every destroyed memory device :

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act:

This act regulates all health – related entities. This act ensures confidentiality, integrity and availability of all electronic protected health information (EPHI).

Under HIPAA, “covered entities” include health care clearing houses, employer-sponsored health plans, health insurers, medical services providers.

FACTA – Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

This rule became active on year 2005, and is designed to minimize the risk of identity thefts and consumerism frauds, by enforcing the appropriate destruction of sensitive consumer information. For example – monthly billed accounts, credit cards, cell phones, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers.

FACTA covers a wide range of business – any institution that manages a covered account. It would include financial institutions and creditors, such as banks, finance companies, automobile dealers, mortgage brokers, utility companies, telecom companies, landlords and employers.

ITADA – Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act.

Similar to FACTA, ITADA protects consumers from identity theft, and is focusing on key identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers.

GLBA – Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

The GLBA establishes rules for protecting the privacy of individual customer’s financial information. If one runs a financial institution, one is subject to the GLBA safeguards rule. This rule requires financial institutions under the FTC’s jurisdiction to develop and implement appropriate physical, technical, and procedural safeguards to protect customer information.”

FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

This is a federal law regulation that protects the privacy of student education records. This law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S.

FISMA – Federal Information Security Management Act

FISMA law requires all federal agencies to establish, document and implement agency-wide information security systems.

CERCLA – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund)

CERCLA is a federal law passed to govern the appropriate cleanup and handling of hazardous waste sites.

RCRA – Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

This act protects human health and environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal. This rule regulates the energy conservation and protection of natural resources.

 

E-waste is the fastest growing recycling stream, as new technologies are replacing old ones in a rapid speed. Financially, more often it is easier to throw the old devices out, rather than repair them.
The field of recycling is meeting new challenges every day, and we are doing our best to offer the best solutions.

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