2009-09-10 / Letters/Opinion

Waste Not Our E-Waste

Editor's note: See "This Week's Attitude" in our August 27 issue. To the Editor:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified ewaste as the fastest growing component of the solid waste stream. Ewaste typically contains toxic and potentially hazardous constituents. Manufacturers do not pay for the cost to safely manage electronic products at the end of their useful life. Instead, the responsibility and costs for proper recycling for e-waste have been borne by local recycling programs, and by extension, taxpayers.

It is time for manufacturers to take responsibility for the disposal of electronic products at the end of their useful life. In June, the New York State Assembly passed an e-waste recycling bill. The State Senate needs to follow suit and adopt an identical bill when it returns for a special legislative session this fall. Similar legislation has been passed in 18 states, as well as New York City, and it would be a big step in the right direction for all New Yorkers that care about recycling and the environment.

Shifting primary responsibility for e-waste management from local recycling programs to manufacturers is a critical first step to advancing true product stewardship in New York State. As a result, manufacturers would have incentives to design more sustainable products that are less toxic and easier to recycle, while creating green jobs as part of e-waste take back programs — all at no costs to local taxpayers.

Dianne Woske, President New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling

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