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Landfill Bans: Perhaps Not the Way to Fight E-Waste

In January, a new law goes into effect in Oregon that will ban certain electronics from all landfills. The idea behind the law is to encourage the...


In January, a new law goes into effect in Oregon that will ban certain electronics from all landfills. The idea behind the law is to encourage the responsible recycling of this toxic and/or valuable stuff instead. So far, so good. But trying to deal with e-waste in this particular way might backfire badly:
[A new law taking effect in January] bans Covered Electronic Devices, or CEDs, from landfills. CEDs are television sets, monitors, computers and laptops. Sanitation companies can face steep fines if a CED is traced back to their trucks, so they will no longer pick electronics up. [Willamette River Keepers volunteer David] Strahan worries people will ditch their electronics in rivers and woods instead.
Apparently Lane County has a bit of an illegal dumping problem and if the garbage truck doesn't take computer monitors, that problem may only get worse.Obviously, it's very uncool that some people are willing to dump electronics in the river. There's no excuse for that. But from a policy perspective it seems like the state should find a way to make sure sanitation companies pick up e-waste, keep it separate, and deliver it to local electronics recycling centers. The trucks are already making weekly rounds; what could be more efficient? In fact, the recycling centers themselves might be willing to subsidize a collection service.
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