Perhaps he’s wary of Green Party candidate Rich Whitney’s recent rise in the polls in the Illinois governor’s race, but the Governor signed an executive order today mandating that all state agencies recycle their electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner.
According to the Quad-City Times, Blagojevich wants the legislature to develop a comprehensive state-wide electronics waste recylcing bill in the spring.
It is amazing that there is not more stringent legislation on the disposal of electronic items, considering elements such as mercury and lead that are contained in computers and other consumer electronics. A perennial problem has been the global trade in “e-waste” to the Global South where there is often a less stringent regulatory environment and despeerate economic conditions. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has been doing good work exposing the hazards this trade in waste poses for people in the developing world.
The main treaty governing the trade in e-waste, the Basel Convention, has not been ratified by the United States. Therefore, when states want to process their e-waste responsibly, they have to develop individual state laws. A recent study by the National Electronics Recycling Infrastructure Clearinghouse has shown that there is an incredible amount of economic inefficiency and duplication that ensues due to the lack of federal coordination of the nation’s e-waste.