Electronic waste regulation is already lax in the United States. With an estimated 12.5% of electronics recycled annually, laws and regulations are doing little to nothing to aid in landfill diversion. Over the years companies like Cleanlites and other leading electronics recyclers have lobbied for stricter eWaste laws–laws that will help pollutants like lead, DHCP, or carcinogens enter the landfill.
Electronic waste laws have long been a patchwork of state and local regulations. Federal EPA regulators have not created any significant electronics legislation in the past decade. Not even in an age of growing electronic waste and post-consumer waste.
A few nights ago the state of North Carolina began to move even further backwards in an attempt to end their eWaste regulations. State legislators began the vote on House Bill 169 encompasses the discontinuation of the electronic waste program.
This decision is a landmark case in the battle for sustainable communities and the fight against climate change and pollution. Electronic waste is slowly becoming a major problem for environmental health and wellness. Furthermore the economy around electronic waste is unstable at best. While some companies strive to be the best stewards for the environment, others end up breaching the trust of the public and sending electronic overseas where poor processes lead to dire environmental catastrophes.
Stronger eWaste legislation is not only environmentally smart, it is economically smart. As virgin materials become harder and harder to mine for, recycle waste will begin to have more significant impact. Instead of making landfilling easier, legislatures have to begin making recycling easier.
HB169 is still making its way through legislature. For more information on the benefits of electronic waste legislation visit the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) and to keep updated on the electronic regulations, make sure to stay in touch with our online knowledge base.