SB 107 would streamline recycling of computers, televisions and other toxic e-waste

MADISON — Consumers are one step closer to having a convenient means of properly disposing of old computers, televisions, printers and other electronic waste (e-waste) containing toxic substances after the State Senate passed Senate Bill 107 today, a measure that would require electronics manufacturers to collect and properly recycle toxic e-waste for consumers.

“Families across the state struggle to properly dispose of outdated computers, televisions, printers and other electronics that contain toxic substances,” said Amber Meyer Smith, program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “This bill will provide consumers with a much-needed avenue for conveniently recycling toxic e-waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill and in our environment.

Electronic waste often contains toxic mercury that pollutes Wisconsin lakes, rivers and stream, threatening the state’s fishing industry and endangering human health. Beyond mercury, e-waste often also contains cadmium, lead, chromium and bromated flame retardants. When electronic waste is land-filled, these toxic substances leach into the ground and water, threatening human and environmental health.

“Properly disposing of toxic e-waste doesn’t need to be so difficult,” said Smith. “This overdue legislation will ensure Wisconsin consumers can easily do what they’ve wanted to all along – keep toxic substances out of our environment.”

The current system for properly disposing of e-waste proves inefficient with only 10 percent of electronics properly recycled.

“Making it easier for consumers to properly dispose of electronic waste will have a substantial impact on the health of our environment,” said Smith. “Our office alone recycled over 400 pounds of e-waste last year. Imagine the impact if businesses and families across the state had a convenient avenue for properly disposing of such waste.”

The bill now needs only the approval of the Assembly and the Governor’s Office to become effective.