The House Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday approved legislation aimed at curbing unsafe dumping of computers, televisions, mobile phones and other consumer electronics.
Consumer electronics can contain toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Although special programs do exist for their disposal, the EPA estimates that less than 20 percent of discarded devices make it to recyclers.
The legislation would authorize $60 million from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2012 for EPA grants to improve electronics waste collection and boost awareness of recycling. The grants also would fund research on separating hazardous materials from electronics waste and designing devices that last longer. EPA will be required to post its research results online. The legislation would also authorize slightly more than $15 million for fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2012 for NSF grants to universities developing curricula on the subject.
The legislation has been endorsed by consumer electronics retailers such as Best Buy, as well as wireless lobby CTIA and environmental groups such as the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, according to committee Chairman Bart Gordon, D-Tenn.
Learn more about California's E-waste Law.