A solution to one of modern America’s most challenging technical issues has materialized in the Missouri Senate.
You buy a new computer. Or you get one of these big-screen digital televisions. Great. Now what do you do with the devices that are now, for all intents and purposes, junk?
Senator Dan Clemens of Marshfield has faced the problem many of us face. "I gave ’em away," he says, "and I really had to almost pay to get them given away." It’s why he came up with a proposed law requiring manufacturers of computers and televisions to establish "recovery plans" to collect those things when people don’t want them anymore. Recycling stations could be set up for the companies by retailers who sell their products. Companies could establish mail-back programs, too.
Clemens says it’s an effort to save landfill space and avoid contamination from the materials in those devices.
Consumers would not have to pay a fee to get the equipment sent back to manufacturers that would then have to file annual reports with the state showing how many tons of computers or televisions they hauled off and recycled or reused.
But don’t start hauling your old stuff back to the store yet. Even if the plan makes it through the legislature this year, it won’t go into effect for some time. The Department of Natural Resources has until July of 2009 to write the rules for the program and they won’t go into effect for months after that.