Electronic Waste Recycling Programs in the United States: A Comparative Analysis
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Proper recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) allows reuse of finite resources and prevents toxic materials in e-waste from causing harm to humans and the environment. The United States is the only Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country without national e-waste recycling policies. Currently, 25 States have e-waste recycling policies, and 19 impose landfill disposal bans. Without federal regulations, laws differ from state-to-state, making it difficult to control and measure outcomes. This analysis applies a framework to compare three different types of state e-waste policy program models including: 1) Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR); 2) Consumer-based Advanced Recovery Fee (ARF); and an 3) electronic recycling education program. Program success was measured by the amount of e-waste recycled by weight and product category per capita (volume); the number of permanent collection sites; the number of collection events; who bears the costs (convenience); and if rewards or penalties are established, (incentives) to encourage recycling. This analysis suggests convenience, cost and incentives are the main contributing factors to program success and increasing recycling volumes. This analysis also identifies the need for consistent reporting of e-waste data in all states to provide greater transparency, and more accurate and consistent data regarding the amount of e-waste recycled. Furthermore, policies at the federal level are needed to address trans-boundary movement of e-waste across state lines.
- MA in Policy Studies