Klobuchar sponsors e-waste recycling bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has sponsored legislation aimed at improving the recycling of electronics.

“Technology continues to advance, but our ways of disposing of electronic equipment haven’t kept up,” said Klobuchar in a statement.  “Many states, including Minnesota, are leading the way, but we need a national solution to ensure that all unwanted electronics are discarded in a safe and responsible manner.”

Klobuchar’ bill focuses on hazardous material – including lead mercury and cadmium  — often found in computers, TVs, VCRs and cell phones, including lead mercury and cadmium.

The bill would:

Give money to the Environmental Protection Agency to award grants for research into new recycling technology. Authorize a study by the National Academy of Sciences. Authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a database for “environmentally-sound” alternative materials for use in electronics manufacturing. And provide the EPA and National Science Foundation with money for developing education programs that would focus on environmental factors in the design and production of electronics.

“If we ever hope to recycle the huge, ever-growing volume of e-waste, we need to figure out more effective ways to safely manage and recycle it,” Klobuchar said.  “At the front end, we also need to come up with new designs and processes to minimize the amount of hazardous materials that go into our electronic products in the first place.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/28/2009 - 04:21 pm.

    This is the best piece of legislation I’ve seen come from Senator Klobuchar.

    Currently, boatloads of electronic waste in the form of old computers, cell phones and other worn-out stuff is shipped to Asia and Africa, where workers without protective masks, gloves or other gear break it down. Much of it just gets dumped in huge, soupy and toxic landfills and the workers handling it develop mysterious illnesses. Water tables and soil are in danger of becoming forever tainted.

    Done right, electronic recycling can save tons of precious metals for re-use and plastics that can be used for fabrics or tires or roadways or ?. There’s no reason modern facilities can’t be built in high-unemployment areas all around Minnesota.

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