E-waste Passes the VT House

S.77 finally makes it possible for citizens to conveniently drop off the e-waste they’ve been collecting in their attics and basements to responsible collection centers for FREE.  The e-waste will then be recycled to the greatest degree possible.
S.77 passed the Vermont Senate last year and cleared a major hurdle by passing the Vermont House. The House did include some amendments that the Senate will have to weigh in on. 
Electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States. According to the International Association of Electronics recyclers American’s scrap 400 million units of electronics annually.
The majority of e-waste is trashed in landfills. This presents grave environmental and health concerns as e-waste can contain toxic chemicals including lead, mercury, brominated flame retardants and casmium among other things. When electronics are placed into landfills their toxic contents can leach into our groundwater. For the small percentage of e-waste that is currently “recycled,” much of that is exported to developing countries that don’t have protections for the environment or worker safety.
In Vermont, collecting and recycling e-waste has largely been left to the solid waste districts and ultimately the tax payers to grapple with. The costs of this are significant. In 2008, solid waste districts and alliances spent more than quarter of a million dollars to recycle e-waste collected in the state. At a time of fiscal crisis when our state, towns and citizens are struggling, S. 77 is a fair solution that will require manufactures to also share in the cost and responsibility of collecting and recycling e-waste.
This producer responsibility will not only give Vermont an opportunity to better manage the waste and ease the burden on local citizens and institutions, it would also foster green design. While conventional recycling programs are important, they will never address issues related to the rapid use of resources and the inclusion of hazardous materials. But by financing the cost of recycling their products, manufactures will have a powerful incentive to design their electronics to last longer and to exclude the toxic materials that make recycling so difficult and expensive.
To read the bill or follow the status click here >>>

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