Opinion

Support bill to recycle e-waste

By SEGO JACKSON

I want to thank Sen. Haugen and Rep. Strow for their timely leadership in co-sponsoring important legislation that will establish a safe and convenient recycling system for computers, monitors and televisions (SB 6428 and HB 2662).

Everyone who currently has a computer or television they want to recycle, or has gone through the hassle and expense of recycling one, can help get this bill passed with a simple action that will take only several minutes. Please call the toll free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them you have a message for all three of your elected officials representing District 10 (or just give them your address). This will get a message to Rep. Bailey also. Thank Sen. Haugen and Rep. Strow for their leadership and ask that all three of them do all they can to get SB 6428 and HB 2662 passed so you have a reasonable way to recycle your electronic waste.

The e-waste recycling program that will be established by SB 6428 and HB 2662 will be paid for by the manufacturers of those products and users will pay no fee. It will provide financing to support collection services provided by a diversity of entities that voluntarily choose to participate, and are compensated, including local businesses, retailers, recyclers, haulers, charities and government facilities.

This program will serve residents as well as small businesses with less than 50 employees, charities and school districts. Small governments that will be able to use the program include Island County and all our cities, and all special purpose districts, such as fire districts, conservation districts, ports, libraries, etc.

Landfilling e-waste is a one-way ticket out of commerce and our economy for those resources. This program will provide all of us with easy and responsible recycling options for e-waste while developing local business opportunities and jobs. The program will also eliminate cost barriers that lead to storage in closets and garages and sometimes illegal dumping.

One of the reasons e-waste recycling is currently expensive and rarely available is that the e-waste contains hazardous components that must be removed before recycling can happen. If 16 different screws, of various types, must be removed to get to the toxic components, that makes the cost of recycling very high (in addition to the cost of managing the toxic components.)

With manufacturers financing the cost of recycling e-waste, they will become much more careful in the design of their products. They will first consider if the toxic component can be made with a non-toxic material. They will also see if they can design the product such that it takes 2 to 4 screws and not 16, to get the toxic component out. These are factors that are in the control of the manufacturers and completely out of the control of their residential and small business customers. This program will place responsibility at the point where something can be done -- the manufacturing process.

HP, Amazon.com, Washington Retail Association, Seattle Goodwill, Washington Environment Council, Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation, and many other businesses, organizations and governments support this legislation. It is now up to our elected officials with our help to get it passed.

Sego Jackson lives in Clinton.

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