The wheels might turn slowly but they get to where they are going, eventually. Three years ago we reported that New York was contemplating the toughest laws in the nation on electronics waste. Today the City Council was to vote on what they call "trailblazing environmental legislation" to make manufacturers responsible for the 'take back' of their electronic products, no longer wanted by customers.
Apparently the city's residents currently dispose of "more than 25,000 tons of discarded TVs, computers and other electronic equipment," which is hardly surprising because it seems they also buy 12 million electronic gadgets and do-dads every year, amounting to about 92,000 tons in total. In applauding the legislation the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) points out that old electronics account for about 40% of the lead found in municipal landfills as well as mercury, cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals in landfills and municipal incinerators. But the wheels will continue to turn for a while longer yet, because the ruling won't become effective until July 2009 when companies need to start collecting old equipment. From July 2010 the Department of Sanitation won't accept nominated electronic products for collection. Manufacturers must, by 2012, take back 25% (by weight) of their current sales for recycling or reuse, a figure that progressively increases to 65% by 2018. Apple, GE and Tekserve are some of companies who are said to be supporting the initiative. :: New York City Council, via MacDailyNews
See also: Electronics Companies Team Up to Create Mega Electronics Recycling, for an earlier post on other ventures along this line.