State Electronic Recycling Laws Becoming Norm; Nothing Yet at Federal Level


Earlier this week, I spoke with Matt Decareau, director of business development for recycler M&K Recovery Group. The computer-recycling specialist reports that it "recycled and reclaimed 600,000 pounds of copper-related materials" in 2008.


Moreover, the increased demand for recycling services, driven in large part by corporate America's need to "go green," prompted the company to expand operations in both its Texas and Massachusetts locations. For one week in April, M&K also extended its hours and offered free and discounted electronics recycling in honor of Earth Day. VP Bill Rockett said then, ""It is vital to the health of our community and the global environment that electronic scrap is kept out of landfills... We're proud to do our part in helping our community do the right thing by recycling their unwanted electronics in an environmentally responsible manner."


Though there is no federal mandate concerning e-waste recycling, at least 21 U.S. states have their own recycling measures on the books, and several have bills pending at one stage or another of the legislative process. (The Electronics Takeback Coalition maintains this list of state recycling laws and where they are in the process. California's is reportedly the most stringent.)


With the new administration's push for sustainability and all the green initatives that are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Decareau says the government is in a position to enact federal recycling requirements -- especially with the switch to digital television upon us. However, he says, "Unfortunately, the state of the economy might interfere with making that a priority."