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Environment

Recycling of e-waste remains a puzzle

July 24, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 30

The Commerce Department's Technology Administration has released a report updating the policy questions surrounding the recycling of discarded electronic products. The report is the outgrowth of several meetings in which stakeholders attempted to reach a consensus on how to proceed with recycling electronic waste. The stakeholders agreed that a uniform, national system of electronics recycling is preferable to a patchwork of state systems. For example, five states ban the disposal of cathode ray tubes in landfills, and four have statewide electronics recycling laws with a variety of financing systems. In some states, recycling is paid for by the consumer, but in others, it is the producer's responsibility. In addition, more than 10 countries have national laws on recycling electronics. The stakeholders, however, were not able to reach a consensus on how to finance a national system. "Federally, we're committed to help fashion a balanced, equitable solution so that we can preserve not only our environment but also our nation's economic strength for our children," said Robert Cresanti, undersecretary of commerce for technology. The report is intended as a guide for policymakers.

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