A recent study by researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology paints a more positive outlook for the long-term control of electronic waste (e-waste).
According to a posting on the website of Waste Today Magazine, the study reports that the total mass of e-waste generated here in the U.S. has been declining since 2015. The biggest contributor to this decline, says Callie Babbitt, a professor at the university’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability and one of the study’s authors, is the elimination of cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions and computer monitors that have been replaced by more advanced and environmentally-preferrable technologies.
However, according to Babbitt, current laws in many states and jurisdictions continue to have e-waste targets based on product mass. Instead, she argues that laws and regulations should focus on recovering elements like cobalt and indium. While not as toxic to the environment as lead and mercury, Babbitt notes that they are scarcer, and that stronger recapture efforts could help increase their reuse in new electronics while also supporting their available supply.