A wise man was once asked, what will be humanity’s downfall? He replied: Humanity.
In the fast paced world that we live in, technology becomes obsolete faster than the changing weather. As technology continues to blossom, so does our buildup of old and outdated electronic devices. Phones, computers, tablets, televisions, etc. Something has to be done with them, and we continue to move forward as more states pass E-Waste laws. In the past 12 years, a total of 28 states and the District of Columbia have passed e-waste recycling laws. Let’s take a look at the early, the late and the oblivious states.
California was the first state to pass an e-waste law, way back in 2003. The most densely populated state also tends to take the lead on progressive issues such as this one, so it was no surprise that it was the pioneer in e-waste recycling.
The next state to pass some sort of legislation was as far from California as Timbuktu! In 2004, Maine passed a law requiring TV and computer manufacturers to pick up these items from landfills and pay for their disposal. The law has since been greatly expanded.
Both Maryland and Washington State asked manufacturers to remember their social and corporate responsibilities when they passed e-waste recycling laws in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Moreover, Washington said that it would look for ways to encourage companies to use fewer toxic materials and more recyclable products in their electronics.
2007 was a landmark year for Ewaste legislation. A total of 5 states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and North Carolina, passed some sort of Ewaste legislation. Texas actually started a computer take back program which has become very successful.
It’s hard to top 5 states but 2008 surpassed 2007 when 9 states jumped on the Ewaste legislation wagon. Rhode Island, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri, New Jersey and West Virginia all passed some sort of Ewaste law.
In 2009, Wisconsin and Indiana joined the ranks of states with an e-waste law. Both states set a recycling target. Wisconsin aspired to recycle 80 percent of the weight of the e-waste sold during the previous three years. In Indiana, manufacturers were required to recycle 60 percent of the volume of materials they produce each year.
Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina joined the pack of states with e-waste recycling laws in 2010.
Utah, however, decided to adopt a different approach. In 2011 it passed a legislation stating that companies were required to educate customers about the threat posed by Ewaste.
Colorado is the latest state to pass an e-waste law. On Earth Day 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill banning certain electronics from local landfills. The District of Columbia instituted its own e-waste law in 2014.
So that leaves us with 22 states without an Ewaste recycling law. Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming all are guilty of not passing any legislation regarding Ewaste. Several of them have considered bills, but they’ve never been able to get one to pass.
In a nutshell
If you live in a state which doesn’t have a recycling law, don’t fret! That doesn’t mean that you can’t recycle. Until these states act to ban electronics from landfills and provide a reasonable collection program, most of the country’s e-waste will continue to end up in the trash. That’s why local legislatures should learn more about the benefits of e-waste recycling and consider what they can do to encourage these valuable resources to be recycled and reused.
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