Bloomberg recently reported that it probably found your e-waste…in a small town in Mexico being disassembled by workers who are unprotected from the Lead, Mercury or other toxic chemicals in the phones, computers or other electronics shipped there. And it is shipped there in spite of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) laws that say the manufacturers are responsible for this waste.
The problem is complex and simple at the same time. It is complex because EPR laws are riddled with loopholes that allow the manufacturers to skirt their responsibility. It is simple because the reason is simple. Manufacturers simply want to shift the costs to local governments rather than do what is right.
Government is not off the hook. How many local governments actually follow up on contractors that they higher to insure that the e-waste that they collect is processed in a responsible manner? Many turn a blind eye since they are also driven by the need to keep costs down.
This has to end. We do not have the right to risk the health and safety of poorer people because we do not want to pay $5 more or even $35 more for our electronic devices.
Read the full article:
We Found Your Last Smartphone, Next to Your Old VCR
NBC News has recently run a very revealing piece with regard to electronics waste that answers the question. First, put this in perspective…The manufacturers made their profit on CRT’s years ago…now they are being asked to pay for the proper disposal of these old units…and they don’t want to.
So, in some states, like NY and NJ; among others…they are required to take responsibility for these units…and yes, I have written on this before…
The manufacturers’ response? Say that they are doing the right thing…start a recycling consortium that dominates the market…then lower the price paid to level that is so low that all recyclers who are not a pert of their system are driven to bankruptcy…and then shift the program costs to municipal and county governments through hidden fees or fees that are just outside of the law.
The result is clear. Increased illegal dumping of toxic materials. Reduced recycling and manufacturers of electronics lying and saying that they are doing the right thing…
WE in NJ have another opportunity to correct this problem…however, at first blush it appears that the Governor’s office is listening to the lies and watering down what was a good bill…and keeping the cost on the taxpayers where it does not belong.
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Old TVs Create Toxic Problem for Recycling Programs Across America
I was invited to testify at the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on February 9. The topic? Electronics Waste Recycling (e-waste).
New Jersey passed a comprehensive electronics waste recycling law in 2009 that was designed to take dangerous CRT’s out of the waste stream and guarantee that they be recycled. The law worked just fine for the first few years. However, technology does not stand still.
In 2013 and 2014, the market for the glass in CRT’s essentially died….people now buy flat screen monitors and televisions, so, there is no place to put the glass.
In response to this problem, and the apparent difficulty in getting manufacturers to fully comply with the law’s provisions that prohibit charging consumers for the recycling program in any way, this hearing was held as a first step in correcting a real problem.
What is that problem? Simply that there is a disconnect between the manufacturers taking responsibility for the material in a way that allows for recycling companies to be profitable and the amount of material that needs to be recycled.
So what do you think as consumers?
Visit the EnviroPolitics Blog to learn more about the discussion on Electronics Waste Recycling:
Hearing exposes turmoil in electronics recycling in NJ