Congress Considers a National Tech Recycling Plan

2 Aug ’05

Via Sabrina Pacifici, details on the U.S. Congress’ efforts to create a national recycling plan for the safe disposal of electronic devices. Gist:

A 2003 EPA report estimates that roughly 50 million computers and 20 million televisions are disposed of each year, but that only 10 percent are recycled. This situation has not gone unnoticed by Congress. The Senate subcommittee on Superfund and Waste Management met recently to discuss a national approach to managing the increasingly growing burden of e-waste–the first Senate hearing of its kind.

A few states, like California, Maine, and Maryland, have passed e-waste legislation, and 26 other states are considering disposal regulations. The tech industry also offers some solutions, such as EBay’s Rethink Initiative, which coordinates the recycling programs of numerous vendors.

Still, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Sen. Jim Talent, R-Missouri, are leading a bipartisan effort to encourage e-waste recycling throughout the country. The Electronic Waste Recycling Promotion and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, introduced in March, gives tax credits to consumers and businesses that voluntarily recycle e-waste.

“We have proposed a pro-consumer, pro-environment, and pro-technology bill to jump-start a nationwide recycling infrastructure for electronic waste,” Wyden said. “Our bipartisan approach is the first to rely on incentives, rather than up-front fees or end-of-life penalties, to deal with electronic waste.”

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