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Subject: E-Waste
From: Robert Thys <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 3 Oct 2003 13:14:11 -0400
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Thought this would be of interest to everybody:

Electronic waste (e-waste) processing is part of a product lifecycle.
Therefore, IT managers need to budget for a recycling fee when
purchasing new PCs.
   According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 4.6 tons
of e-waste were added to U.S. landfills in 2000 as a result of millions
of PCs, monitors, cell phones, and personal digital assistants being
discarded. One of the dangers of landfill e-waste is the presence of
lead in many old monitors. Some monitors contain as much as seven pounds
of lead. With the volume e-waste expected to quadruple in the next
several years, our environment is in serious peril.
   The bottom line is that cost-effective ways are needed to dispose of
e-waste and businesses will be required to pay some of the costs. There
is no national mandate for the collection and handling of e-waste in the
United States but significant measures have recently been taken on the
state level that bear monitoring. Currently, there are more than 24
bills before various state and city legislatures regarding the handling
of e-waste.
    On Sept. 25, Governor Gray Davis of California signed legislation
creating the first e-waste  recycling program in the United States. The
Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 will require California consumers
to pay a $6 to $10 fee on the purchase of computer monitors and
televisions to fund a statewide recycling infrastructure. The law will
take effect in July 2004. The University of Oregon's two-year-old
Computer Harvest program recycles old computers on campus. University
Environmental Manager Nick Williams said that through
the program, the University saved 6.5 tons of cathode-ray tube glass,
five tons of metal and miles of wire from landfills.
   The complex issues involved in the collection, handling, recycling,
and costs of e-waste in the United States will more than likely require
federal legislation to be effectively dealt with. This legislation will
need to reflect the shared responsibility among manufacturers,
consumers, governments, and the recycling industry. In the meantime,
state and local governments will regulate the handling locally of
e-waste disposal with the increasing costs being passed on to the
consumer.

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