E-Waste is defined as waste generated by consumer electronic products; laptops, desktop computers, cell phones, TV’s, stereos, MP3 players, toasters, etc. The waste question: what do we do with all of that electronic gear once we decide to trash it? Who takes it, who recycles it, and can it be reused?
The City of New York City has passed legislation that requires electronics manufacturers to take a greater ownership in recycling their products. The new ordinance is forcing electronics manufacturers to take responsibility for goods at the end of their useful life shifts the cost of recycling to users and producers of goods. Tech industry groups the Computer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), are seeking an injunction to stop the city’s proposed electronics recycling program. The industry is contesting the legality of the New York plan, arguing that it’s unconstitutional and designed in a way that places “enormous burdens and costs” on manufacturers. In its motion for a preliminary injunction the CEA and ITI single out a rule where “direct collection” must be provided for all electronics over 15 pounds. The industry has further argued that they are making gains in creating greener products for consumers as well. The industry has argued that they are complying with current state requirements for recycling and have pointed out that there are now over 400 recycling centers set up just for electronic goods. New York City has argued that hazardous metals found in electronic goods is difficult for the public to dispose of and that industry must bear the burden for their products. The growing issue of E-Waste has prompted 19 States to issue their own mandatory recycling laws for electronic goods, with an additional 31 States planning to issue similar legislation. E-Waste has become a problem through out the world. Establishing meaningful recycling laws that have the input of industry and the public could facilitate real gains in reusing, recycling, and reducing the hazardous materials found in today’s electronics.