The Difference Between Ewaste Laws in the US and the EU

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The traditional 3-R’s of recycling – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the most well known ways to help eliminate waste and protect your environment. Although the focus on recycling paper, plastic and metal remains high, in an ever-changing technology focused world the traditional 3-R’s of recycling propose a challenge when it comes to disposing of unwanted electronics or eWaste. Since there is a specific protocol for eWaste disposal, traditional recycling is not an option. Many states and towns have implemented eWaste days or programs to residents with proper disposal.

In most places, throwing away eWaste into a landfill is illegal. Electronic devices often contain toxic substances like arsenic, lead and cadmium. When these materials are not disposed of properly, it poses a major threat to soil and groundwater contamination. According to the EPA, it was estimated that only about 20 percent of all eWaste was recycled globally in 2016.

As many people encountered, it is the same if not less expensive to replace an electronic device than to have it repaired.  Although no major strides have been made for a universal eWaste recycling initiative in the United States, the European Union has a new law that requires manufacturers to produce items that are easier to repair while also providing replacement parts for up to 10 years after a device has been manufactured. The hope is these items will be less likely to end up in a landfill.

This initiative to hold manufacturers more accountable resulted in manufacturers being forced to take on more of the responsibility of taking back their products and to ensure proper disposal. In the United States there has never been an incentive to reuse and consume less. Now with new bans on imports by China, they are no longer taking recycling from places like the United State and Europe. With the growing cost of waste disposal, having access to parts to fix devices the new 3-R’s – Refurbish, Redesign and Repurpose are going to be the focus of the future. There are many things your old electronics can become.

To get started with proper disposal of your unwanted electronic devices, trust the professionals at ProTek Recycling. Let’s get started with a free quote online and participate in both the traditional and new R’s of recycling!

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