WASHINGTON — A unit of the nonprofit, nongovernmental National Safety Council is launching an ambitious effort to develop base-line data on recycling in the electronics industry and jump-start a broad-based organization on the topic.
The Washington-based Environmental Health Center, part of NSC in Itasca, Ill., is using a $150,000 federal grant to form a 15-member Electronic Product Recovery and Recycling Roundtable made up of industry, recyclers, academics, municipalities and consumers.
The plastics industry should be a significant part of the organization, but thus far no one from the plastics industry or its trade groups has submitted names, said Dawn Amore, EHC project leader for the round table. American Plastics Council members have attended EHC events, she said.
Andrea Wood, deputy director of APC's durables program, said the Washington plastics group is interested in participating.
The round table intends to be an open clearinghouse for information and will not restrict its information as trade groups sometimes do, Amore said.
``What it will do that other groups don't do is it will have information available.''
It will not provide policy advice, nor will it serve as a trade group, EHC officials said.
The $150,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant that launched the effort will be cut to $100,000 next year and phased out by 1999, Amore said. The group will be looking for funding from its members, she said.
EHC still is accepting nominations for the round table until June 2. The first meeting could be in the fall.
EHC staff have resisted developing too-specific an agenda for the round table because they want the members to provide direction, Amore said. But two goals have been set:
Develop a Web site and create an online users' forum for trading information.
Produce a report in 12-18 months on the status of recycling in the electronics industry, including base-line data. There are only a handful of studies that have tried to quantify it, Amore said.
More than 2 million computers will be landfilled by the end of the decade, and the problem could worsen by 2005 because one computer will be obsolete for every new one produced, an EPA official told a February EHC conference.
A 1991 study found that two computers were becoming obsolete for every three manufactured then.
EHC officials said the round table should consist of senior managers who can help with fund-raising and speak with authority for their organizations. A second, lower-level board is being considered for ``less-senior employees who have a smaller role in round-table fund-raising and a potentially larger role in other round-table activities,'' according to EHC documents.