On Monday, Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich signed an executive order mandating recycling of all government-owned electronic devices. While some may raise an eyebrow at the timing -- Blagojevich is in a tight race for re-election -- the new requirement should keep a literal mountain of hazardous chemicals and junk out of the state's landfills: according to the AP, "About 55,000 state employees use computers or laptops that are replaced every three to five years, officials say. The state also replaces thousands of cell phones, fax and copy machines every year." Additionally, the Governor called for the state legislature to pass a law requiring e-waste recycling for all Illinoisans, and sent a letter to President Bush asking for a national guidelines for the recovery and use of old electronics.
This is the first state-level e-waste recycling mandate in the Midwest, and we hope that it catches on in the region. In August, four states -- Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois -- signed onto a policy framework for a regional approach to the problem that would make manufacturers responsible for collection and recycling. For now, though, we can only applaud Illinois' effort, and hope that it's the first of many steps towards a more comprehensive solution. ::Belleville News-Democrat via linton at Hugg