Getting Better All The Time
Are you tired of depressing recycling statistics and gloomy predictions for the future? You’re not alone. We all get tired of bad news. Right now, though, there’s some genuinely good news on the e-cycling front — and it’s not a new innovation that will take years to implement.
Today’s news is about what Americans have already been doing; and what we’ve accomplished in the past year is pretty darn impressive. In fact, 2014 was a record-breaking year for electronics recycling, and we’re on track to break another record in 2015.
What the numbers look like
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, here in the United States we recycled 660 million pounds of used, out-of-date electronics. This is 40 million pounds more than our recycling efforts totalled in 2013. And keep in mind, every year our electronic gadgets become smaller and lighter — so an increase of this size is a real milestone. Even more encouraging, we’ve managed to double the amount of electronics we recycled in 2010, just five years ago.
In their recently released report, the CEA also located more than 8,000 responsible e-cycling centers accessible to consumers all across the country. They found 82 percent of adults surveyed named electronics recycling as an important concern, and about one-third of those had recycled at least one household electronic item in the past year.
As Americans become more aware of the dangers of electronics waste, the CEA expects e-cycling to continue its record growth. The organization has set a lofty goal for the nation — one billion pounds of end-of-life electronics recycled in the year 2017. To reach this goal, CEA has implemented educational programs in schools and communities across the country. They also continue to advocate for stronger e-cycling laws on the federal and state level.
Speaking of states, how about Texas?
Here in Texas a remarkable coalition of environmentalists and political conservatives may be delivering an outstanding piece of legislation around the subject of e-cycling — specifically, for recycling used batteries. If passed, the proposed law (called HB 3153) would require the battery-making industry to fund a free consumer takeback and recycle program for all types of household batteries. Manufacturers opting out of the program would no longer be allowed to sell batteries in the state of Texas.
Under the proposed law, each manufacturer would have the option of working with an environmental stewardship group or producing their own plan. All plans would be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for modification or approval. Each plan is to include community outreach and recycling goals in addition to recycling locations for consumers.
With Vermont as the only other state in the nation with a similar law on the books, Texas would be leading the way for legislatures all across the country if this law is passed. We’re proud that our state lawmakers are taking the initiative in proposing some real solutions to the e-cycling dilemma.
So take a deep breath and pat yourselves on the back, America. We are gathering momentum on the e-cycling front — and it’s getting better all the time.