Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

State e-waste disposal bans have been largely ineffective

Date:
September 10, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Summary:
One of the first analyses of laws banning disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in landfills has found that state e-waste recycling bans have been mostly ineffective, although California’s Cell Phone Recycling Act had a positive impact. However, e-waste recycling rates remain “dismally low,” and many demographic groups remain unaware of their alternatives, according to a new study.

One of the first analyses of laws banning disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in municipal landfills has found that state e-waste recycling bans have been mostly ineffective, although California's Cell Phone Recycling Act had a positive impact on cell phone recycling. However, e-waste recycling rates remain "dismally low," and many demographic groups remain unaware of their alternatives for properly disposing of e-waste, according to the study.

Presented in Indianapolis today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), it found that providing more information to women and older people could increase the effectiveness of e-waste disposal bans and recycling programs.

"The patchwork of state-by-state or even city-by-city measures that have been adopted to deal with e-waste have been ineffective," said Jean-Daniel M. Saphores, Ph.D., who reported on the study. He is with the University of California at Irvine. "To implement more sustainable policies, producers, regulatory agencies and non-governmental organizations should adopt policies that focus on the big picture, which includes looking at the whole life cycle of products to minimize adverse environmental and public-health impacts."

Estimates suggest that more than 84 million obsolete or broken television sets were gathering dust in closets, attics, garages and basements in households in the United States in 2010. There were almost 200 million obsolete or broken cell phones, and millions of old computer monitors and other electronic gear. The glass in old-fashioned TV sets contains lead, and electronic circuit boards contain arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc. The rechargeable batteries in cellular phones contain cobalt, zinc and copper.

Concerned that lead and other potentially harmful materials used in those devices could enter the environment, states and municipalities have moved to prevent disposal of electronic waste with conventional trash. Saphores realized that there had been few studies on the effectiveness of those restrictions, so he conducted a survey of U.S. households to find out about how many broken, obsolete or unused cell phones and televisions they had in storage, what their intentions were regarding these items and what they had done in the past with old cell phones and TVs.

The Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2003, for instance, required retailers to establish and promote a system for accepting and collecting used cellular phones for reuse, recycling or proper disposal at no cost to the consumer. The Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 established a series of requirements for manufacturers and retailers of electronic products that contain cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and liquid crystal display (LCDs) panels to encourage recycling and proper disposal.

Saphores' 2010 survey of 3,156 households that are representative of the U.S. population concluded that California's Cell Phone Recycling Act did have a significant positive impact in encouraging consumers to recycle old phones. Consumers typically keep a cell phone for about 18 months before upgrading, and the law fostered recycling of the old phones rather than junking them. However, state bans for CRTs and LCDs was "largely ineffective," according to the study.

"The research found that women and the elderly are less aware of the recycling programs intended to properly deal with old electronics," said Saphores. "The effectiveness of similar laws around the country could perhaps be improved by providing more information about the importance of proper disposal to those individuals. However, given the relative ineffectiveness of previous policies, it is time to implement deposit-refund systems, which have worked quite well for beverage containers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society (ACS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society (ACS). "State e-waste disposal bans have been largely ineffective." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910112816.htm>.
American Chemical Society (ACS). (2013, September 10). State e-waste disposal bans have been largely ineffective. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910112816.htm
American Chemical Society (ACS). "State e-waste disposal bans have been largely ineffective." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910112816.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins