Take It Back Network Background and Documents
Snohomish County has formed the Take It Back Network for electronics…a partnership between local government, retailers, haulers, recyclers, electronics manufacturers and consumers.
The Take It Back Network for electronics provides options for collecting, processing, and recycling electronics and their potentially hazardous components in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. The Take It Back Network is truly a network in every sense of the word. Government helps bring together resources from the private sector to make the Network work, provides technical assistance to Network partners, then publicizes important information and program benefits to the public. Retailers, non-profits, and electronics repair and service shops provide distribution of Network information, and where possible, also serve as electronics collection sites. Haulers and recyclers work to provide environmentally sound collection, transportation and recycling options that will improve in cost and convenience as the Network continues to develop.
Network members have high environmental standards. Customers are concerned that materials are properly handled and recycled. They are concerned that materials not be mishandled and cause pollution overseas. Network members want to be sure that when they use services of other Network members, they can count on environmental management. Therefore, to join and benefit from the Network, members sign pledges that they will meet high environmental standards.
How businesses can join the network
Businesses can participate in the Take it Back Network in a variety of ways. This includes providing recycling information to your customers and referring them to recycling services, or providing a recycling service to your customers and the community at large yourself.
Snohomish County provides advertising and technical support to businesses that join the TIB Network.
Snohomish County businesses that are interested in finding out more can contact Sego Jackson at 425-388-6490. Sego will discuss the program over the phone or by email and then arrange a site visit if you continue to be interested. King County businesses should contact the King County Take It Back Network.
The Future: Product Stewardship
Product Stewardship is a new approach to how many products will be managed in the future, including electronics. Product stewardship is an environmental management strategy that means whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing the product’s environmental impact throughout all stages of the products’ life cycle. This means that manufacturers will take more care in the product’s design to ensure that it is least toxic, easy to recycle, includes recycled materials, and uses less energy. It also means that manufacturers and retailers will assist in developing programs to make it easy for consumers to recycle their products when they are no longer wanted. That way you can best do your part of the bargain – return the product for environmentally-sound recycling. A related term is Producer Responsibility, which puts a greater share of responsibility on the product manufacturer.
Snohomish County is working with others locally, regionally and nationally to bring about product stewardship approaches. We are working with others in the region through the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and the Western Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative. Nationally, we are working with the Product Stewardship Institute of Lowell, Massachusetts and the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI).
Through NEPSI, Snohomish County is working with national retailers and manufacturers, other governments, non-profit organizations, and recyclers to develop plans for a future national recycling system for electronic products, paid for in the purchase price of new electronic products. That way, when it is time to recycle the product, you, the customer, are not faced with a recycling fee, which will deter some from doing the right thing. Such systems are more efficient and cost less per unit recycled too. If the NEPSI negotiations are successful, it will take a number of years to put this system in place statewide or nationally.
Snohomish County would like to acknowledge the following retailers and manufacturers for directly participating in this process and providing leadership in this process: Best Buy, Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, JVC, Nokia, Panasonic, Philips Electronics North America Corp., Sharp Electronics, Sony, Sun, Solectron, and Thomson Consumer Electronics.
National retailers and manufacturers can do a lot to help get their products recycled in an environmentally sound way that is convenient to customers. They can do this by providing take back of the products they sell and manufacture at their stores and outlets and by helping set up a national recycling system that is paid for in the purchase price of new electronic products. For this to happen, they need to hear from their customers and not just government representatives. There are a number of things you can do to encourage a new and better way of recycling electronic products.
Utilize the services already offered by small local retailers and repair shops. Be polite to them, thank them, and consider making future purchases at these locations.
When making a product purchase, ask if the store will take back your used equipment. Encourage them to join the Take it Back Network. Fill out customer comment cards provided at some stores, asking them to provide recycling take back service for their products.
Write to national retailers and manufacturers asking them to bring establish support for local recycling options, including taking products back at their stores. Letter writing campaigns can be found on the website of Grassroots Recycling Network, an environmental organization.