Mayors just say no to bearing the cost of e-waste disposal

Summary:When it comes to carting away electronics and other technology, cities believe that producers and consumers should pick up the tab


Close to half of U.S. states have passed some sort of law governing the disposal and handling of electronic waste, and that's the way it should be, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The group has just adopted a resolution calling for state legislation to shift the cost of dealing with this problem away from taxpayers and local governments and onto producers, and people who buy the stuff. The resolution was modeled on policies drawn up by the Product Policy Institute and that is used extensively in California, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. It is based on the idea of Extended Producer Responsibility, or Product Stewardship. The idea is that the government and taxpayers shouldn't be expected to pay for a problem that is caused by the act of commerce.

Here's some perspective from the press release in a statement from Bill Sheehan, who is executive director of the Product Policy Institute: "Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors planted their flag in the waste pile and said, 'no more.' They asked product manufacturers to take primary responsibility for their toxic and non-recyclable products. We're proud of their leadership on this pressing issue."

The organization represents cities with populations of 30,000 or more people.

Topics: Government, Legal


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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