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Why am I paying an E-waste fee?

  1. Dec 22, 2011 #1

    Pengwuino

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    For any of you who have purchased a certain electronic and computer components in the last few years, you've probably noticed this ~$10 E-waste fee pop up on the bill (or maybe this is just California?). I just realized something that struck me as odd in regards to this fee. If I were to recycle this product (for example, this monitor I purchased a few days ago), I would have to pay a E-recycling center to recycle it for me. I'm being screwed here, aren't I?!

    Actually, I just realized, since (based off a previous thread a year ago or so) my family is like the only family in the world who brings our cans/bottles to recycling centers to get paid instead of paying the city to take our recycled materials off, there's mega-screwage going on here! My understanding has always been that you pay your $0.05 CRV and when you recycle the can, you essentially get a refund of the CRV. But the all-mightys of PF say "no no no, you pay the CRV, and then you PAY AGAIN to have the city come take your recyclables. Duh, that's how the world works you stupid fish".

    Same idea with this E-Waste thing. Why am I paying twice!?!

    Honestly, I think the whole system is backwards. We recently dropped 3 computers, 2 monitors, and a bunch of old electronics equipment at an E-recycling place because on that day, they were taking stuff in for free. Our family isn't exactly trying to help create record breaking landfills, but that kinda stuff would have absolutely gone to the trash/landfills if it weren't for that free offer. The worst part is I'm sure there are people who think "Oh I paid my $10 fee, I'm suppose to throw this LCD into the garbage can now".

    rawr. Discuss.
     
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  3. Dec 22, 2011 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    All of our recycling is free. You can either go to the dump or use the garbage pickup service but there is no extra charge for recyclable materials.

    I do know that companies struggled for a long time to make recycling profitable. Aluminum cans were probably an easy target as the energy cost of extracting aluminum from ore is extremely high. But only now are many plastics acceptable. And it could be that recycling electronics is more costly than other materials, which seems likely.
     
  4. Dec 22, 2011 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Yah I think it is more expensive.

    From what people were telling me when I made a related thread a year ago, the recycling provided by the city actually cost them extra money (and I believe it wasn't optional). To me, that specific situation confounds me. Even right now with my family, every month or so, extra $40 in our pockets with a trip to the recycling center. Back in the day, you could buy yourself a new suit, shoe shine, a nickel Hershey bar and still have change left for the 3:05 to Bakersfield :cool:
     
  5. Dec 22, 2011 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    If you were a business, you would have to figure in the floor space for the storage, taxes on the property, the time spent separating materials, loading the car, driving to center, and driving home. Take the worker hours and figure in benefits and taxes, management fees, 50 cents a mile for the car, and so on, and it becomes easier to understand.

    You are assuming that your time has no value and you have no operating costs.
     
  6. Dec 22, 2011 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Which are you talking about? The costs associated with running a recycling center or me personally doing the recycling?
     
  7. Dec 22, 2011 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was loosely considering your cost as a mini-recycling center. In principle you still have many of the same costs but they are hidden and so small in scale so as to be ignored. But first and foremost, you aren't placing any value on your time.

    From my point of view as a small business owner, if it took me longer than 20-25 minutes to make that $40, it wouldn't be worth doing. And part of my niche is that I have extremely low overhead.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  8. Dec 22, 2011 #7

    Pengwuino

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    I see. Okay, putting aside the other costs, we were never in a position that our time needed to be considered. If I were a business owner where I had the ability to easily convert between time and money working on my business, your argument makes sense and recycling on your own is a very iffy proposition. However, if you are the average American, your income is pretty much set based on the hours you can work for your employer. I don't consider the day-to-day recycling as taking any time because instead of walking up to a trash can, I walk up to the bag of cans, for example. Taking the cans to a recycling center, however, does take time but that's always done on the weekends and when there's nothing else to do. It never takes up other money-creating activity's time. So it's either make $40 or.... don't.
     
  9. Dec 22, 2011 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    By all means. I wasn't intending to make recycling a negative, but purely from a business perspective I can see where it might be tough to be profitable. On a personal level, as you say, our time is not valued by the minute. Beyond that are things like personal responsibility and civic duty, which cannot be so easily valued. Tsu and I have made siginficant efforts over the years to recycle as much as possible. Only recently did we get an effective curbside pickup, so for almost 20 years it was a total pain that took up a lot of storage. But we are both lifetime, highly dedicated recylers.
     
  10. Dec 22, 2011 #9

    Pengwuino

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    That's good! We've tried and have been successful, I believe. I remember as a kid, my grandparents would always save these glass bottles. I forget what they originally contained... maybe some kind of fruit or peanut butter or something. Anyhow, they also had a bunch of herbs growing and they'd jar them up and give them out to family. The best part for me was when we used them for regular old drinking glasses. It was great to transport soda on a drive because they kept the lids and you'd just fill it with soda, screw on the top, and be off (much more awesome concept as a kid) :D. So we've always tried to recycle and reuse things....... although at times it boarders on being friggen hoarders!
     
  11. Dec 22, 2011 #10

    Evo

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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  12. Dec 22, 2011 #11

    AlephZero

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    It's not the way the whole world works. This side of the fishpond, there is no up-front recyling charge or tax or whatever CRV stands for when you buy products. "The city" collects recyclables separately from the other household trash every 1 or 2 weeks, and you pay the same for refuse collection whether you recycle or not. In fact some local authorities are experimenting with schemes where you get a discount on your local taxes based on the amount of stuff you recycle.

    The only one-off charges are "environmental charges" for things like car servicing, where at least you know you have created some waste (oil, tires, whatever) that is being recycled.

    But the EU must have had a "humor fail" when they invented the waste electronic and electrical euipment directive - abbreviated to WEEE.
     
  13. Dec 22, 2011 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Sorry. I live in America. We're not cool with things being "logical" or "making sense" like that. We make it so that recycling costs you more than just throwing everything in a dump.

    I looked up E-waste on wikipedia earlier and saw the WEEE and laughed :D

    BYE EVO!!!!!
     
  14. Dec 22, 2011 #13

    Evo

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    When in doubt - ASK EVO.

    Got a question? - ASK EVO.
     
  15. Dec 22, 2011 #14

    micromass

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    Want to get banned?? - ASK EVO

    Don't want to get banned?? - BAD LUCK
     
  16. Dec 23, 2011 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    We couldn't recycle plastics back then [about 40 years ago] but our family was religious about recycling aluminum cans. Beyond that were the Boy Scout glass drives. As a rule, no one recycled regular glass back then, less the bottles with a deposit on them, but there was a bit of money to be made on regular glass. So the Scouts collected glass for fund raising. But I had an unfair advantage. My grandmother was a nurse at Long Beach Memorial Hospital She arranged for me to get every saline bottle the hospital used! I had tons of the things. It was a bit of work as we had to use a pair of dikes to cut the ring and remove the rubber cork from each bottle, but with time I got pretty fast.

    Five feet behind me sits the surveyor's compass that I won as first prize. :biggrin: I treasure it because based on the work that went into winning it, it's worth a small fortune!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
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