Recycling bottles & cans is far from inconvenient for most Californians since there are bottle & can collection centers in just about every major grocery store parking lot. But what about recycling electronics, like old computers? Most residents are still unaware that e-waste is a problem or that electronic devices are even recyclable. However, there are those consumers that want to recycle their e-waste and don’t where to go. The plethora of regulations in California fuddles most ewaste-conscious consumers to a point of simply stockpiling their e-waste. A few manufacturers, like HP, Dell and Apple, have started their own take back program, but the question still stands: are those programs good and convenient enough for California consumers? The San Jose Mercury News takes a look.
Quiz question: How would you dispose of your old computer? Throw it in your regular trash, take it to a hazardous waste center or send it back to the company you bought it from? And what about cell phones? And printers?
If you're like millions of California residents, you're probably at a loss. The fragmented system for collecting and recycling electronic waste -- including a hodge-podge of city, county, state and private sector services -- confuses even an avid environmentalist. Add to that various regulations, including some new laws, and even the experts are bewildered.
"How do consumers make sense of it?" asked Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, or CAW, a non-profit environmental group. "They don't, they can't."
The complexity, he and others complain, makes it difficult for consumers to contribute to keeping plastics, chemicals and toxic substances found in electronic products from contaminating the environment.
Assembly Bill 2202 (Saldaña) will expand a provision SB 20/50 that requires manufacturers to phase out the use of hazardous materials in Covered Electronic Devices to virtually all consumer electronics. AB 2202, which shadows the progress of the EU RoHS Directive, will prohibit the sale of any electronic device that contains non-essential mercury, cadmium, lead or hexavalent chromium after July 1, 2008. TAKE ACTION!