Electronic waste is currently regulated in 20 states, but this doesn’t mean that your municipal program is able to accept e-waste. In order to collect, sort and process electronic junk into refurbished products, it requires time, money and other resources that some municipal programs simply lack. Electronic goods such as computers, televisions, VCRs and DVD players are examples of solid waste that can have a life beyond the landfill, but if the municipal program doesn’t have a third party contracted to handle these products, recycling is unlikely. Every municipal landfill incurs operating costs from powering its offices to paying its employees, and in order to contract a company to specifically manage the e-waste, more money has to be allocated for this service. Oftentimes, this added expense is just not within the allotted funds. In Milwaukee, for example, there isn’t an economic drive for hand sorting portable appliances, so this option causes a financial burden. Plus, it doesn’t help that a producer responsibility bill for these types of products is lacking in the law. However, because of a new legislative stipulation for Wisconsin, which occurred in September 2010, a landfill ban was put on computer products and entertainment electronics. In order to process these items, the state has a separate electronics recycling program that has been effective and efficient for 10 years. This helps to offset the fact that municipal landfills don’t have an electronic recovery process. When it comes to recovering electronics, there is a lengthy procedure from the magnetic separation of iron to the sampling of the alloys, which takes place in the secondary smelters. Municipal programs are bombarded with massive amounts of solid waste every day and landfill bans and processes vary from state to state, so it’s more efficient if consumers take time to recycle electronics properly through a local program or company takeback service.
Why Don’t Municipal Programs Accept E-Waste?
A look into the complexity of electronics recycling reveals the difficulty in achieving high recycling rates.