Perhaps our favorite quote of the week: “It’s important to bear in mind that a computer is not a soda can, and a TV is not newspaper."
Figuring out just what the heck to do with e-waste is a growing, global problem that some companies and states have been trying to address in the US, but there’s no national plan. To that end, representatives of Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Goodwill, and others testified at the hearing, urging Congress to assist in the development of a recycle-and-reuse infrastructure for unwanted electronic products. Sony and HP have both taken steps to help manage e-waste. Goodwill, meanwhile, has been increasingly burdened with the stuff; in 2004 alone, 23 million pounds of e-waste — the equivalent of roughly 821,000 computers — were donated to the nonprofit’s agencies across the country.
Now the federal government is joining the national and international “conversation taking place right now about how to make sure more e-waste is captured by recyclers,” says Gordon, adding that “In addition to increasing the amount of e-waste that is recycled, we should also look at designing products in smarter ways.”
We’ve got our fingers crossed that useful legislation will be proposed and signed into law soon. After all, as Gordon puts it, "E-waste is hardly trash; while some materials in electronic waste are potentially hazardous, others are quite valuable. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to put gold in a dump."
Story by Alisa Opar. This article originally appeared in Plenty in May 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.