In a study to be published Friday in the Journal Science, researchers will lay out possible remedies to the growing e-waste problem, calling for stricter federal government oversight to cover proper disposal of electronics as well as guidelines on what materials go into these products.
Without a comprehensive federal law governing electronic waste, the onus has fallen upon individual states to come up with solutions to deal with e-waste.:
Although the U.S. is one the world's largest producers of electronic waste (e-waste), it is hardly a leader in addressing this problem, given that the country has "no legally enforceable federal policies requiring comprehensive recycling of e-waste or elimination of hazardous substances from electronic products," the researchers say. Instead, the U.S. government has largely delegated e-waste decision making to the states.
Currently, only 20 states have e-waste laws, while 14 other states are considering measures. And while it is often preferable for individual states to come up with solutions affecting their own local issues, it creates a burden on manufacturers to have to deal with disparate regulations for different regions. Ultimately, this expense gets passed on to consumers.
The researchers from the University of California System were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the study.