The Story of Electronics – from the folks who made the wildly popular Story of Stuff web film – explores the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage: 6 billion tons of e-waste and counting, and other (often hidden) consequences for high tech workers, the environment and us. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green ‘race to the top’ where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable. Watch it, then share it with your friends & family on Facebook, via e-mail and on your other social networking sites!
Texas is one of 23 U.S. states that have laws to make electronics manufacturers responsible for recycling obsolete products. However, many Texas residents still have no access to convenient recycling options. TCE is urging Walmart to partner with manufacturers and provide recycling programs in Texas that will make it as easy to recycle old e-waste as it is to buy new electronics. To win this campaign, we need your help. Click here to take action now!
Background: TCE Takes the Lead on TakeBack Recycling in Texas
TCE was invited to join the emerging Electronics TakeBack Coalition in March 2002 because Dell had been picked as the first corporate target of the campaign. The Coalition wanted a group with a strong presence in Central Texas to pressure Dell in their hometown. And did we ever do that! Texans sent more than 10,000 letters to Dell at TCE’s request. We held press events – ranging from e-waste fashion shows in West Austin to a chanting e-waste chain gang at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.
Dell came around and embraced producer takeback recycling in late 2003 – they are still the only electronics company to commit to offer consumers takeback services for all the products they’ve put on the market for free, worldwide. TCE has also taken a strong lead in pressuring Apple, HP, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and other companies to responsibly recycle their obsolete products.
TCE worked with Dell and HP to pass a law in 2007 to require all computer makers to provide free and convenient recycling for their products. Although TCE pressed the state environmental agency to set some standards for convenient recycling in 2008, they failed to do so. Legislation to require TV makers to recycle obsolete TVs passed with very little opposition in the 2009 session, but Governor Perry surprisingly vetoed the bill. In 2010, when TCE Fund analyzed the first year results of the Computer TakeBack Law, Texas came in dead last! It's clear that the law needs more teeth. Read the full report here.
In 2011, TCE worked successfully to pass another bill for TV recycling in Texas – and Gov. Perry signed the bill into law this time. However, passing a law is hardly the end of the story. Since Texas has no laws against dumping toxic e-waste in our landfills, that’s still where about 80% of our old and obsolete electronics end up. State legislators should add Texas to the list of 15 states with effective laws prohibiting electronic waste from disposal in landfills. You can encourage your State lawmakers and candidates for office to support this legislation today: Click here to download a sample letter now.