Some say that e-waste--trashed computers, cell phones, printers and other gadgets--is becoming one of the biggest toxicity problems facing our culture. In the US, municipal incineration of e-waste is the largest source of cancer-producing dioxin and among the largest point source of heavy metal contaminations in the atmosphere. I've written about this here and here.
Good news around the country: Organizations like New York's Lower East Side Ecology Center stage free recycling events to collect our e-waste and make sure it doesn't end up harming us or our planet. In fact, LESEC will be collecting our old gadgets this Sunday, January 6, from 10 AM to 4 PM at Unions Square (see here for more details). If you live outside New York City, click here to learn how to recycle your e-waste.
Even better news in New York City: Municipalities around the world are working to make electronics manufacturers responsible for cleaning up their own e-toxic mess, including New York City. In fact, on January 14, there will be a hearing in the City Council Chambers about a bill that would require manufacturers of electronics sold within the City to take responsibility for the "end-of-life management" of their products.
The important thing about this legislation, modeled on systems already in place in the European Union and Maine, Maryland and Washington, is that it provides financial incentive for electronics manufacturers to make their products less toxic and design them with recycling and reuse in mind. In other words, this system greens not only the disposal but also the production of electronics.
New York City residents have to help: Needless to say, some in the electronics industry are presently trying to kill the bill. They want the financial costs of recycling to fall on consumers, which would leave manufacturers with no incentives to green their production processes. So, here's your call to action.
Please contact both Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Tell them that you "support Intro. 104 as written" and ask them to move it forward. You can contact Bloomberg's office online here. You can contact Quinn's office by calling 212-788-7210.
Fellow bloggers and journalists: Would you mind too much transmitting this call to action, too?
As for those of you who don't live in New York City, please weigh in with comments on this post about how your city or country deals with the problem of e-waste. And if you do live in New York, and you do make the calls, please also leave a comment behind and let us know.
Thanks everyone! And happy New Year!
Image courtesy of EconBrowser.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.