The Electronics TakeBack Coalition is all about electronics manufacturers and brand owners taking full responsibility for the life cycle of their products.

My husband is right on board with sustainable living, but I think even he thought I was just this side of crazy when recently I saw a computer monitor in a dumpster and had him stop and put it in the back of our car so we could find out where to bring it to be recycled. I didn’t want it ending up in a landfill, with its internal toxins leaching out into our water supply. The monitor was older, so the viewing device was a CRT (cathode ray tube). It contains hazardous materials like lead, mercury and barium that must be recycled. In fact, in 2001, the EPA banned throwing away CRTs, and in 2002, it began fining companies that sent them to landfills or incineration. According to RecycleComps, regulatory agencies, local and statewide, are now monitoring the disposal of CRTs and other computer equipment. If you don’t use the services of a CRT recycler to dispose of your used monitors and you’re caught, you will certainly be fined. Through this monitor-rescuing experience I found the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC). They get it. How about having the electronics manufacturers and brand owners take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products? Maybe this will encourage them to make products that last longer and are easier to recycle. The ETBC promotes green design and responsible recycling in the electronics industry. The organization’s goal is to protect the health and well-being of electronics users, workers and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take accountability for the entire life cycle of their products through effective public policy requirements or enforceable agreements. The group’s plan is to establish extended producer responsibility (EPR) as the policy tool to promote sustainable production and consumption of consumer electronics (all products with a circuit board). EPR will improve the next generation of solid waste and toxic materials policy, promote the manufacturing of cleaner computers and curb the flow of toxic electronic waste by pushing manufacturers to accept responsibility for their waste, internalizing its cost in corporate bottom lines and phasing out the use of hazardous substances. To learn more about EPR and how you can help, visit the Electronics TakeBack Coalition website.