Materials Processing Corp. (MPC) the Minnesota Electronics Recycling company has shut down in the wake of state fines for improper storage of 5 million pounds of crushed cathode ray tubes last year. The Star Tribune reported earlier; MPC CEO David Kutoff, who could not be reached last week, said the company had complied with Minnesota pollution authorities by properly disposing of the material and paid a $125,000 fine that was the largest since state law required reuse, recycling or proper disposal of electronic waste. It is not safe for general landfills or incineration.
The last straw may have been MPC’s loss of the “e-stewards” industry certification that is the gold standard for such materials-recovery firms, according to coverage in E-Scrap News, a trade publication that covers the resource recovery and recycling industry. MPC was losing contracts with key customers and manufacturers who subsidize product reuse and recycling.
Profit margins have narrowed to the point of disappearing with the drop in commodity prices of materials such as gold, silver, platinum, copper, nickel, cobalt and aluminum, as well as plastic, that are harvested from electronics.
The Environmental Leader explains that crashing crude prices mean it costs less for plastics companies to use virgin plastic than recycled materials, reports CBS News. Brent Bell, Waste Management’s vice president for recycling, tells the news outlet that prices for all plastics have fallen about 20 percent to 30 percent compared with last year.
The Wall Street Journal reports that new PET now costs about 63 cents a pound, 7 cents less than recycled PET.
Advanced Technology Recycling, an ISO 14001 and R2 Certified electronic recycling company is one of the few tech-savvy recyclers using reuse to reduce strategies to create new jobs despite the falling oil prices.
While many recycling companies have focused their attention on increasing processing capabilities to recover dwindling commodities, ATR says it uses technology to offer a more sustainable approach. Additionally ATR set a new Guinness World Record on Earth Day and continues to expand their regional footprint.
Brodie Ehresman, ATR’s national business development manager, says “a growing number of Fortune 500 customers now utilize ATR to reclaim millions of dollars each year when refreshing their computers.”
Additionally, the company has recently acquired its GSA Schedule and plans to offer this same program to any federal agency seeking a return on their decommissioned electronics.