U.S. Guidelines Tout National E-recycling


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WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, has released its "Recycling Technology Products: an Overview of E-waste Policy Issues" report outlining the management of electronic waste. Although the European Union's (EU's) RoHS and WEEE regulations affect American manufacturers selling product into the EU, the U.S. does not currently require domestic adherence to the Directives. The report says that only four states California, Maine, Maryland, and Washington have passed state-wide electronics recycling laws, and the regulations are different for each state; five states California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire have banned cathode ray tubes (CRTs) from landfills.

The report offers guidelines and discussion of solutions for a national e-recycling program, based in part on feedback from industry manufacturers. The Design for the Environment (DfE) program, for example, will "work with the printed wiring board (PWB) industry and others to look for ways to reduce water, energy, and toxic chemicals use in the manufacture of printed wiring boards." De-manufacturing, or breaking apart equipment into constituent parts, will be a key issue for electronic-component recycling from obsolete technology.

The report, released during the governance meetings of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), also summarizes individual states' legislation defining proper disposal procedures for circuit boards and other components. Despite sharing many characteristics with the EU's RoHS and WEEE Directives, the report does not mandate immediate changes, and serves more as a reference source for future national action. The ISRI urged respect for a marketplace economy, as well as environmental protection. To learn more, contact The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Technology Policy.

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