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Blyn biz adapting to new recycling law

The state's free electronics recycling law that took effect Jan. 1 has required Daniel Tharp of EcycleNW in Blyn to adjust his

business plan, but he remains optimistic.

"I'm still busy," Tharp said Friday afternoon while preparing to pick up some large television sets after returning from an early morning trip to Tacoma.

EcycleNW, 272693 Highway 101, is an electronics and plastic waste recycler that opened in Carlsborg in April 2007 and moved to Blyn in September.

It is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

The company serves as one of two free drop-off centers in Clallam County under the Electronic Product Recycling Act passed by the state Legislature in March 2006. The other is Goodwill Industries at 603 S. Lincoln St. in Port Angeles.

People can drop off their TVs, computers, monitors and laptops at no charge. Tharp is paid by manufacturers through the Washington Material Management and Financing Authority to collect the items for recycling.

Those items that can't be reused are sent to one of three processors approved by the state Department of Ecology.

"We still will provide collection at a reasonable cost for other items not covered by the law. We also will provide pickup service for large TVs or multiple items at a reasonable cost," Tharp said.

EcycleNW charges customers 35 cents per pound for their used electronics not covered by the law, including VCRs, DVDs, keyboards, computer mouses, printers, scanners, cell phones, gaming devices, speakers and microwave ovens.

Tharp said that charge may vary for something that might weigh a lot but not have a lot of materials that can be salvaged and sold on commodity markets.

"The cost depends upon what it is," he said.

Now that Tharp is collecting the televisions, computers, monitors and laptops under the state program, he can't take them apart to sell the materials on the commodity markets. They are put on a pallet for collection by the Washington Material Management and Financing Authority.

What the state pays him to collect those items isn't as much as he was charging people prior to the law taking effect, Tharp said.

But then, he doesn't have the cost of transporting those items to where they can be recycled, either.

"We feel what the state is paying us is a reasonable price for collection," Tharp said.

He still can cannibalize other used electronics not covered by the new law for the lead, copper, plastic and other materials inside, Tharp said.

He also has commercial customers who pay to have industrial materials sent for recycling that can't safely be put into landfills, such as used transformers.

The state's "producer responsibility law" became effective Jan. 1. It is the first to require that manufacturers be responsible for recycling electronic waste, which can leak lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals into the environment.

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6428 passed by a 69-29 vote in the state House of Representatives and a 38-11 vote in the state Senate.

Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam and Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, both voted "yes." Then-Rep. Jim Buck, R-Joyce, voted "no."

Manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, Dell and Hewlett-Packard pay for the operation based on their market share and how many of their products get returned.

They're required to set up one collection site in every county and one in every city with more than 10,000 people.



Reach Brian Gawley at briangawley@sequimgazette.com.



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