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States Push Makers' Role In Disposing of Electronic Waste

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the pretty-well-known-huh dept.

Earth 199

AaronParsons writes "An interesting NY Times article describes currently available programs for post-consumer electronics. One of the many interesting points in the article is that electronics manufacturers should be held responsible for recycling their products post-consumer: 'Maybe since they have some responsibility for the cleanup, it will motivate them to think about how you design for the environment and the commodity value at the end of the life.'"

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199 comments

This is a terrible idea (5, Insightful)

Art Popp (29075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528659)

I live in Washington and take my old computers to RePC. They charge a fee, $5 to $10 a unit that depends entirely on the labor to rip it apart into its "differently recycled pieces." They have huge heaps of PCBs in one pile, metal caes in another, I assume crushable plastic was hiding behind those.

If you get the federal government involved they will put a tax on the manufacturers (which we will pay for our new toys), and then they'll go spend it elsewhere (e.g. social security). That's inane. I'm sorry the mega-corps have to deal with all the state laws, but they have lawyers for that sort of thing already.

Even if the money collected were in a closed loop, (which it won't be), having the consumer put the five dollar bills in the hands of the company doing the work seems vastly more efficient than anything that we could do with "national taxes by weight/volume/content," "recycling-prepaid" stamps and typical regulation details.

Re:This is a terrible idea (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528817)

I agree that getting big-fed involved is a bad idea. But anything that encourages electronics makers to use pressed cornmeal for gadget housing is fine by me. And you know those 'recycle your electronics' places are mostly just a feel-good business right? There is absolutely no regulation or anything else that prevents them from taking all those heaps of scrap where ever it's cheapest (even if it's a landfill).

Re:This is a terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529067)

The RePC folk are probably featured in this article because they do, in fact, care.

If there are problems with other parts of the disposal chain, then they should be identified, and if it turns out we need a "gaseous emission reclaiming plastic recycling facility" here in the state and they want to up the sales tax .1% for 3 years to pay for it. I'll vote for it. Voting to let the congress-sheep control how this should be handled, country wide, from a giant pool of money just seems like asking for trouble.

It's kinda like giant centralized government databases, no one can argue with the efficiency of them, but they do seem to invite abuse. While we have a localized system that seems to work, trading it for a national one to simplify the laws for a few mega-corps seems like a bad trade.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529113)

Hopefully, just the "threat" of legislation will get green-watchdog-groups and China-manufacturing on the alert to do as good as possible in recycling.

Wouldn't it be nice if congress retreated after a charge like this. Eg. use this tactic to alert possible legislation instead of plowing ahead with it...

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529151)

I just dispose of it the old fashioned way, I chunk it in the trash can by the curb for the garbagemen pick it up and haul it away.

That being said, my experience for the past decade or so in New Orleans, if you set anything like that on top of the can(s), it will 'disappear' overnight before the trash truck comes.

I think of it as human nature taking over the recycling. I've rarely had anything that appeared of value not get picked up by someone who wanted it.

Re:This is a terrible idea (4, Informative)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529515)

In Grand Junction, Colorado it is illegal to simply dump your electronics in the trash. You're required to pay a $50 processing fee for all old electronics. This includes computers, televisions, and basically anything larger than an iPod. $5-10 to dipose of your electronics with this other company is not a bad deal at all.

Re:This is a terrible idea (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530355)

THIS is where the real problem is.

The Feds should stop beating up on the industry and instead beat up on the Municipal governements.

Dealing with trash is what they are supposed to be responsible for.

I shouldn't have to do anything more than put my electronics in the
recycling bin with the rest of the stuff they're supposed to be
recycling. Although my town has odd limits on stuff you would think
would be pretty trivial to recycle already.

In general, they seem to be cost cutting a bit too much and forget that
the garbage men are ultimately there to help prevent the next outbreak
of the BLACK DEATH. Automated trucks that leave the street covered in
trash kind of defy the point.

Re:This is a terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528865)

RePC also makes money selling the metal and other things that come out of electronics. And considering the price of commodities (i.e. all those materials that make up electronics), they're making a nice living without having to charge you. Yes, I am fully aware that the PCBs have to be disposed of because, as far as I know, there's no second hand market for those. And, are you sure that they are disposing of those materials correctly? Who audits them?

Here's the problem: recycling will never really take off until it stops being a luxury. Poor or cheap folks who want to recycle won't because they have to pay out of pocket to do it.

Re:This is a great idea (4, Interesting)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528875)

Currently, product waste is an "externality" - the cost of recycling/disposing of the product is borne by someone other than the manufacturer. When buying a new item, virtually all consumers don't take into account the cost of disposal, but it still needs to be paid.

Making the manufacturers responsible for recycling/disposal of their products means that they will need to increase their price to the consumer, thereby showing the true cost of the product at purchase time.

BTW, I'm told New Zealand currently has a similar law (for all products, not just electronics), and it works quite well.

Re:This is a great idea (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529237)

There's one way that recycling can be done profitably for the retailer - let them have bins so we can strip the excess packaging off our purchases. Pre-sorted, easily sellable packaging materials (cardboard and paper, plastic, etc).

They'd make a profit off it AND get the "feel-good" greenies.

Re:This is a great idea (4, Interesting)

Exoman (595415) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529819)

Currently, product waste is an "externality" - the cost of recycling/disposing of the product is borne by someone other than the manufacturer.

Yeah, externalities, essentially, dumping your dog's crap in your neighbor's yard hoping they won't notice.

Cradle-to-cradle [mcdonough.com] describes the process of designing for full lifecyle. McDonough distinguishes "re-cycling" from "down-cycling" the process we generally use today that recycles plastics such at PET into playground equipment and fleece.

Designing for re-use, disassembly, and re-use gives companies such as Interface [interfaceglobal.com] a competitive advantage while reducing externalities.

Free markets can be good at this, but externalities must be internalize, or it is simply not a free market. This is a valid role for governments, working to ensure a level playing field that doesn't give anyone an unfair right to abuse the commons. Once that level playing field is established, eliminating perverse subsidies, smart companies *will* go to more cradle-to-cradle designs because it makes great sense on so many levels.

Re:This is a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28530299)

We get the whole "balanced" yin/yang of making the purchase of electronic devices contain "fees for the totality of all possible negative social and economic impacts to the society and the world."

It's a grand idea. Every attempt to implement such things at a federal level has been a battle against inefficiency, corruption and greed. Using New Zealand as an example, given that they have 1/9th of the population of California doesn't seem to address the scalability issues involved in a national implementation in the US. It might be a good model for one of the smaller states to implement, especially if they were an island.

The GPs point is that we have system that works. It may need improvements, but getting heavy federal government regulation involved won't help. The added overhead (not counting the money that the purposefully reappropriate), will increase the costs. That's how you motivate people to cheat. It's a pressure problem.

How many of your friends would pirate their music if the legitimate purchase was as easy as iTunes, and 25 cents a song? Zero, maybe 1 in a 100?

At 50 cents?

At 99 cents?

At 17.99 and you have to buy the whole damned album for the three songs you want?

Whether or not it's "just and right" to infringe the copyright of these companies, they created the economic pressure that spawned their competition.

Don't do the same here. Don't double the cost of doing something everyone wants to do right, and thereby motivate people to cheat. That's not a win for the planet no matter how "green" you may feel when voting for those laws.

Nature's Way: Composition and Decomposition (3, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529161)

Nature has processes that compose and decompose living things. For example, sex produces a Slashdotter. The Slashdotter consumes the food of nature, grows, and matures. After the Slashdotter dies, we bury him in a forest without a coffin. Bacteria will decompose his body. Wild animals may smell the body, dig it up, and feed on it. The Slashdotter came from the dust, and he will return to the dust.

Now, compare that process to the man-made process of building, say, a computer. From the dust, we assembles a computer. After it becomes old and useless, we bury it in a landfill. The computer does not decompose and does not return to the dust. Worse, some of the junk that we bury in these landfills actually poison the land.

Clearly, man-made processes contain only 1 part of the 2-part process. That 1 part is the composition. Man-made processes have traditionally not involved decomposition.

In order for us to be truly "green", we should mimic nature and should always use a 2-part process: composition and decomposition. Each product that we buy must be designed to facilitate the often neglected 2nd part: decomposition. Of course, we, as consumers, should pay the full cost of both parts. Right now, we typically pay just the 1st part: composition. Indeed, the ultra-cheap $600 computer produced by slave labor in China would likely cost $1200 if we included the cost of decomposition.

This issue is not mere idle philosophy. When we finally exhaust all the available copper and other metals in the mines, we must dig up all the crap in the landfills and recycle it to extract the metals. This recycling is the aforementioned decomposition. We eventually must pay the cost of decomposition.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529243)

...they'll go spend it elsewhere (e.g. social security)

Wrong. The federal government has taken 2.4 trillion dollars *from* social security between 1984 and 2006 for use in normal day to day operations. SS is still running a surplus today.

I understand from your post that you don't like SS, but your claim is simply wrong.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529769)

Actually he was agreeing with you. It should have read, "they'll go spend it elsewhere (e.g. much as they do with social security)."

Story in ten years: Today congress appropriated 24 billion dollars *from* the electronic-waste-management fund for use in normal day to day operations. They'll do this even when it's obvious that money should be spent on building cleaner and better recycling facilities, because... that's what they always do.

Re:This is a terrible idea (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529503)

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/06/60minutes/main4579229.shtml

Here is often where that stuff ends up in. Some place in rural china with monitors stacked up into shear walls. Toxic levels in the water 190x the WHO limits and water has to be brought in. Burning plastic and pouring acid to extract trace amounts of gold. This isn't the only site out there either.

Re:This is a terrible idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529659)

Hello Democrats, goodbye personal responsibility.
Next up, the price of a Big Mac goes up as McDonald's is forced to pay for municipal sewage processing.
More laws, bigger government, higher taxes, fewer freedoms.

Think Libertarian

Re:This is a terrible idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28530003)

And you will have to pay for your children's funeral costs at birth.

Paradigm (4, Insightful)

bwthomas (796211) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528689)

I find it interesting that we're willing to push this as an ad hoc solution but not a paradigm. Maybe all manufacturers should be forced to take responsibility for the amount of waste their products generate, not just the makers of soda cans & computers?

Re:Paradigm (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528897)

Why should a manufacturer that has created a product and sold it on to a new owner be held responsible for its disposal.

Simply because the consumer/owner has subsequently reclassified the product as waste does not return ownership to the manufacturer. Nor should it return responsibility for its disposal to the manufacturer.

This is a very simple concept but, the incredible ignorance of the growing masses is dragging all of us down into this ridiculous argument.

'Wha wha. I shouldn't be responsible for my own stuff. It should be the manufacturer, they made it.'

'Wha wha. I shouldn't be responsible for my own actions, it should be my parents. They made me.'

Re:Paradigm (2, Insightful)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528983)

Oh for the love of god. 90% of the tech shit you buy these days is designed to fail in two or three years. Yea, a lot of crap makes it past the three year mark, but most of it is DESIGNED to be thrown out. i.e. they are engineering waste.

Re:Paradigm (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529889)

Bullshit.

I've still got a Commodore 64, an NES, an atari, a working cellphone from 2004, a working cellphone from 2006, plenty of old USB keys, several old MP3 players (256mb, 1gig) and countless still-working computer parts built up over the ages, dating back to the mid-90s.

In fact, with the exception of a couple of laptop Harddrives, I can't recall the last piece of technology that simply broke or died on me.

How is this flamebait? (3, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529829)

Gotta love Slashdot... someone makes an honest, intelligent point that goes against the Green/Liberal/Anti-Government/Anti-Corporation mindset and they're instantly modded FLAMEBAIT.

Please, he makes a good point: Why should manufacturers be charged for materials that they have given up all rights and ownership to?

So if a person refuses to recycle something, it's somehow the manufacturer's fault? How is the manufacturer supposed to know or control whether the consumer lets their product rot on a shelf for 10 years or throw it into a river two days later?

By charging the manufacturer for how the consumer disposes of their product, you are now granting them the _responsibility_ to take charge of how the consumer disposes of it, which is nearly impossible to enforce with Orwellian-style RFID tags in every product.

What exactly are any of you suggesting that the manufacturers do different, or is this just a way to milk some more easy money from those 'fat corporate pigs?'

Every product needs this (2, Interesting)

sckeener (137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528703)

Wouldn't this be a good idea for all products? The only downside I see is higher prices, but I think the motivation companies have of cutting costs would benefit the world.

Re:Every product needs this (2, Interesting)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528847)

Wouldn't this be a good idea for all products? The only downside I see is higher prices, but I think the motivation companies have of cutting costs would benefit the world.

Yes, but start with electronics. Today's electronics are designed to be non repairable and are largely considered disposable after they become obsolete, despite the levels of cadmium, mercury and lead found in them.

Old Hardware? (1)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528851)

People throw their old hardware away?

Sheesh. I still have a couple of 300 meg drives sitting around for posterity.

Re:Old Hardware? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529663)

I HAVE to throw away my old computers and parts or I will be forced to put them to work in some manner.

Re:Every product needs this (4, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528937)

Wouldn't this be a good idea for all products?

Yes.

The only downside I see is higher prices

No, the price remains the same - the disposal cost exists whether it's paid by the manufacturer or the consumer. The only difference is that it all needs to be paid up-front, rather than the disposal cost being paid after the product's useful life.

Re:Every product needs this (3, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529051)

That's more or less how it works in Germany. It hasn't been perfect, but has resulted in less packaging and more use of recyclable components.

How the? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528721)

One of the many interesting points in the article is that electronics manufacturers should be held responsible for recycling their products post-consumer: 'Maybe since they have some responsibility for the cleanup, it will motivate them to think about how you design for the environment and the commodity value at the end of the life.'"

How the crap do you do that? Lets see, Intel makes a top of the line CPU called the Core i7, however within 3 years, that CPU will be considered mid to low end. So what is Intel to do? Stop making CPUs until they manage to make the fastest one ever then abandon the CPU market? Heck, most of the waste was caused by the government mandating the DTV switch. Technology evolves independent of the manufacturer.

Re:How the? (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528915)

How the crap do you do that? Lets see, Intel makes a top of the line CPU called the Core i7, however within 3 years, that CPU will be considered mid to low end. So what is Intel to do? Stop making CPUs until they manage to make the fastest one ever then abandon the CPU market? Heck, most of the waste was caused by the government mandating the DTV switch. Technology evolves independent of the manufacturer.

The problem is a matter of properly accounting for the full cost to society. If I have a tree on my property and it falls in your yard, I have to pay for disposal. If I'm burning leaves in my yard and catch your house on fire, I'm on the hook. This makes sense.

If I'm a mega-corp and am pumping pollutants in the sky, nobody really gets on my case for it. I could increase the local cancer rate and any class-action suit against me would be tied up in courts for years as I force you to try and prove the connection. The lawyer fees are chump change compared to what I'm saving by not cleaning my emissions.

If I'm a beverage bottler, I'm pumping out a billion plastic bottles a year. It's holding five minutes worth of beverage and will be on this planet for ten thousand years or more. Currently there's no law telling me what I'm doing is wrong but it has as much impact as my previous example of burning leaves and setting your house on fire. Because the problems are bigger and harder for us to grasp, they're harder for us to deal with effectively.

Nobody is telling manufacturers they aren't allowed to remain in business but they are being told that they have to consider the environmental impact of their business model just as carefully as they look into their market research.

Re:How the? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529063)

However, your argument fails to account for 2009 technology. Recycling creates pollution, recycling many times takes much more energy then just dumping them in a landfill. Landfills can over time be turned into parks, housing developments, etc. Plus the US has a ton of land, particularly land that has no current use. Technology will eventually get to the point where theres no need to use toxic substances (not because of regulation but because if you want to have decent performance you just don't use them). Eventually all the mercury and such gets diluted down to manageable levels. In the USA this simply doesn't make sense, perhaps in Europe where space is at a premium it does, but due to the fact that recycling requires more energy than simply dumping it and there is tons of space in the US, I see little point in harming the economy with this.

Re:How the? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529251)

Landfill have theyre problem to. Manly lan toxicity and ground wate contamination.. If the land is to toxic you wont be able to turn your filled hole into a park and nobody will knowingly buy a plot of land on top of heavely polluted land. But that's in your landfill future in the present pollutant and heavy metals are polluting the ground water that nearby house/village/animals/fields drink. Ground pollution have a tendency of going up.

Landfilling is not as harmless as you might think.

Re:How the? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529355)

It is likely that landfills will eventually be mined for the valuable resources that they contain.

Re:How the? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530065)

Geezus is that ever a surreal thought.

Re:How the? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530325)

It actually makes lots of sense if you figure that most resources are extracted in the way that requires the least use of energy. At some point, garbage becomes the ore with the best yield.

Aluminum does a decent job of demonstrating this, recycling it requires much less energy than refining it from ore, and said recycling is also very popular (scrap aluminum nets enough cash that people will mess around with a few pounds of it when doing demolition, or whatever).

Re:How the? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529487)

However, your argument fails to account for 2009 technology. Recycling creates pollution, recycling many times takes much more energy then just dumping them in a landfill.

What you forget to take into account is that all the materials used in electronics manufacturing are non-renewable resources. In time the energy needed to recycle these resources will come from renewable sources, but we have only a limited supply of silicon, cadmium, nickel, copper, etc.

That said, the only way that manufacturers are going to make their electronics easier to recycle will be by footing them with a portion of the bill. The simpler it is to scrap the parts by component material, the less they have to pay.

Re:How the? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529633)

Sure, but Silicon ranks only below oxygen in abundance. Cadmium, nickel and copper are also quite abundant. We /might/ have to recycle them but none of the materials are scarce in any way.

Re:How the? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530469)

Ha ha
copper is "so abundand" that rising copper prices alone tripled the Metrorapid magrail project price in Germany over three years, killing the project.

Also, copper "so abundand" that people risk their lives stealing railway electric wiring so they can get good money at the scrap metal merchant.

Re:How the? (4, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529525)

Sorry, but you are talking bullshit.

I used to work for some waste management companies.
Recycling makes lot of sense and while it does create pollution, it creates much less pollution than producing new raw materials. This is especially true for all kinds of metal, paper, glas and more expensive forms of plastics (like polycarbonate).

Since the raw material supply is finite, recycling will return even more money in the future than it does now already - and 2009 technologies allow recycling to be pretty profitable in first place. Thus it makes sense to invest in recycling technologies now (or being caught with your trousers down in the future).

Re:How the? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529399)

Nobody is telling manufacturers they aren't allowed to remain in business but they are being told that they have to consider the environmental impact of their business model just as carefully as they look into their market research.

Why does the consumer not consider the environmental impact of their purchase and later decision to reclassify the product as waste? Why does the consume not consider the pollution created in the manufacture of the products that they demand and take ownership of?

It's the big bad corporation's fault, not mine. Right?

Sorry, the problem is not the lack of laws restricting the manufacturer or even the manufacturer themselves. The problem is the consumer.

Nothing stops the consumer from recycling the plastic bottle that they bought, owned and consumed. They simply choose not to bother. The manufacturer did not throw it into a land fill or into the gutter, the owner and consumer did.

YOU did. Stop trying to ascribe blame to anyone but the responsible party.

Re:How the? (4, Interesting)

bmajik (96670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529551)

Why not just bill people for their garbage?

The disposal costs of this stuff aren't an "externality" -- they're just low, plain and simple. It has become very fashionable for environmentalists to try and pull one over on people using the power of government, and this smells like the same tactic. Companies have lots of money, nobody will get mad if "we" make them plan to recycle stuff they make later.

Well, I'll get mad. I don't want to pay more for it up front, I don't want the government to mandate that every product be planned for a 3 year obsolescence, and I don't think any of this crap is the government's job to begin with.

If there truly is some cost of disposing of electronics, rather than trying to tie it back to the original manufacturer (who will wisely go out of business once they have a looming mountain of garbage they are on the hook for... thereby getting a double windfall, since they over-charged you for the goods originally, and will not be around when its time to recycle it), make customers bear that cost, and make it clear what the composition of the item is at purchase time.

This is statist/environmentalist activism, not economically sound action.

Re:How the? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530309)

Why not just bill people for their garbage?

Because that way companies would have absolutely zero incentives to produce easily/cheaply recyclable goods. To put it in other words, everything would stay the same with the sole exception that the people (i.e., you and me) would be forced to pay for a service that they do not have any influence on.

Re:How the? (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529983)

If I have a tree on my property and it falls in your yard, I have to pay for disposal.

A more proper analogy would be: A man buys a tree from you, plants it in his yard, cuts it down, and then charges you to clean it up.

If I'm burning leaves in my yard and catch your house on fire, I'm on the hook.

A more proper analogy would be: I buy leaves from you, accidentally burn my neighbor's house down, but now you're responsible.

Making companies pay for their waste is one thing. Making them pay for the waste of an individual too lazy to recycle is something else entirely.

This is Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528747)

You tree huggers can vote me down all you want but, you know that this is bullshit!

Where does this BS end? McDonalds to be held responsible for the recycling of cups and bags? GM to be held responsible for the recycling of their cars?

Sure it sounds great to you because it doesn't inconvenience you, yet. I suppose that you will continue to turn a blind eye to the reality of this until you yourself are held responsible for something that you create and sell on but, must recycle years later.

The company has sold the product to a new owner. The owner of the product is responsible for its disposal! Quit chewing granola for just long enough to face reality.

Re:This is Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528823)

While this post is written in an inflammatory style, I would have to say that I agree with it. It makes no sense for companies to have to recycle things that they made years down the line. There are some things that /will/ go obsolete no matter how "green" you design them. Heck, governments create part of it too (look at the DTV transition). You make a product and you sell it, once it is sold you should have no liability for the product unless it was defective or unsafe along with limits on when you can get damages. For example, 30 years from now if we find that the glass used in the iPhone caused skin deformities but Apple could have no knowledge of that, it makes no sense to sue Apple for that. Similarly, when I want to throw away an old computer, its not the computer makers fault that I want to throw it away.

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528923)

The other option the politicians have is to tell their constituents to properly dispose of their junk. That wouldn't be a very popular position.

The option which will be more likely to get them re-elected is to "stick it to the greedy corps" (mind you, I'm no fan of corporations). This option lets the politician be green and anti-greedy-corporation as well as relieving the voters of a bothersome responsibility.

Re:This is Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529271)

Why not? The computer maker knows you will want to throw away a computer. A bill like this means that what happens to a product down the line is a design constraint, rather than something the engineers might give an afterthought to if they want to feel good about themselves.

It's just about paying the whole bill... (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529617)

(...) It makes no sense for companies to have to recycle things that they made years down the line. There are some things that /will/ go obsolete no matter how "green" you design them.(...)

It's not about not making things obsolete. It's ultimately about the consumer paying the full cost of the object they purchase, instead of saddling the rest of society with it. If my 1 cent product packaging costs 10 cents to dispose of, it should cost 11 cents.

Re:It's just about paying the whole bill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28530157)

So, if I buy something that comes in a box that costs 1 cent to produce and 10 cents to dispose of, what happens if I don't dispose of it? What if I store something else in that box for 10 years? Do I get my money back?

Charging a disposal fee at time of purchase assumes a fixed future and does not reflect the rest of R's. Recycle, Reduce, AND REUSE!

Re:It's just about paying the whole bill... (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530499)

So, if I buy something that comes in a box that costs 1 cent to produce and 10 cents to dispose of, what happens if I don't dispose of it? What if I store something else in that box for 10 years? Do I get my money back?

Charging a disposal fee at time of purchase assumes a fixed future and does not reflect the rest of R's. Recycle, Reduce, AND REUSE!

Actually, it does reflect the "Reduce", at least, since those 10 extra cents might make the manufacturer choose lighter packaging options. And about reuse... sure, we re-use the cardboard boxes of appliances sometimes, but honestly, there are more boxes than I have any use for. Also, do you also reuse the silly styrofoam packaging that meat comes in? or the stupid cookie-shaped plastic thingies that cookies come in? I would say that re-use is not really relevant on a large scale where packaging is concerned.

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529727)

The DTV transition is a bad example. Televisions didnt lose their ability to receive a signal and display images, its simply the signal was altered, and old sets are easily modified to conform to the new signal. Not the same at all.

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529003)

Right on the spot. Responsibility is on the owner.

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529233)

While mostly agreeing with you, why shouldn't manufacturers consider making products that are easier to recycle? Maybe a few changes in the manufacturing process would allow for easier disposal by the consumer in the future?

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! (0)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529189)

I'm no "tree hugger", but the overall idea makes perfect logical sense. Your argument that the new "Owner" of the product should be held responsible leads back to the buyer beware attitude. The company producing the product *MUST* be held accountable for the environmental impacts the product has. This is not a "tree hugger" issue any longer. This is about the quality of the environment and ecosystem that the human race needs to sustain itself and how unchecked population growth and consumerism is affecting it.

I'm sorry, but making the disposal of a product that contains toxic or environmentally harmful components the sole responsibility of the consumer is patently irresponsible. It is also irresponsible for a company to knowingly produce a product that contains difficult to dispose of (safely) components and provide no guidance or assistance to the consumer. It may be easy for a person living in a metro area the size of Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas or Atlanta to find a firm that recycles electronics waste, but for a large segment of the population there aren't such facilities nearby or they are unknown because they don't advertise well. Disposing of these products in landfills is not acceptable, unless you are planning on starting a business in the future to mine landfills for precious commodities and mitigate the toxins in them. Let me know how that turns out for you.

Your entitled to your own opinions on this subject, but be prepared to defend them if they are clearly self-serving, ignorant or otherwise indifferent to the well being of us all. The bottom line is we can't keep operating the way we have been and everyone--including big corporations, governments and private citizens--needs to be more responsible. If you think the taxes to do this will be steep, just imagine the penalties for not doing this. Look beyond your own nose, backyard, five minutes into the future, etc. This disposable everything mentality has got to stop, folks!

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529191)

Where does this BS end? I think the more appropriate question is "Where does this BS start?" The simple answer is the lack of personal responsibility. Any plan that takes away responsibility from the individual is always a hit. The whole "make the government solve all our problems" is disgusting, and both political leanings tend to do it quite a bit.

Re:This is Bullshit (0)

mdalal97 (256621) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529321)

I consider myself a tree hugger and, yes, in a sense, the companies should be responsible for the cost of their products on society. Do I think PC manufacturers need to be involved in the recycling of their electronic gadgets? No. Do I believe they need to pay to cover the disposal cost of those goods? Absolutely. Granted that cost will be passed on to the consumer, but that is what needs to happen.

Where does this BS end? McDonalds to be held responsible for the recycling of cups and bags? GM to be held responsible for the recycling of their cars?

It is not BS, it is being a responsible citizen. In the case of McDonalds, they could provide a simple means for people to separate out their recyclable stuff from the non-recyclables -- trash bins and recycle bins in the stores. They could also offer a 5cent discount if you bring your own bag or cup. Can't offer much input on cars, but it I assume much of the car's metals are already recycled and put into new cars/products.

The goal is not to punish the companies/producers. The goal is to provide an incentive to improve environmental practices.

Re:This is Bullshit (1)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529675)

I consider myself a tree hugger and, yes, in a sense, the companies should be responsible for the cost of their products on society. Do I think PC manufacturers need to be involved in the recycling of their electronic gadgets? No. Do I believe they need to pay to cover the disposal cost of those goods? Absolutely. Granted that cost will be passed on to the consumer, but that is what needs to happen.

Where does this BS end? McDonalds to be held responsible for the recycling of cups and bags? GM to be held responsible for the recycling of their cars?

It is not BS, it is being a responsible citizen. In the case of McDonalds, they could provide a simple means for people to separate out their recyclable stuff from the non-recyclables -- trash bins and recycle bins in the stores. They could also offer a 5cent discount if you bring your own bag or cup. Can't offer much input on cars, but it I assume much of the car's metals are already recycled and put into new cars/products.

The goal is not to punish the companies/producers. The goal is to provide an incentive to improve environmental practices.

McDonalds has already gone down this path years ago. Remember the styrofoam clamshells they no longer use? They changed over to cardboard clamshells due to consumer complaints, which at the time was around the use of CFC's during the creation of styrofoam.

Crush and recycle, what am I missing? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528777)

This idea seems solid, tell me what I'm missing.

So we have a pile of old laptops that we need to recycle. We dump them in one of those industrial shredders that reduce them to powder. We run the powder through centrifuges to separate the pieces by weight. This part's probably the really, really complicated bit but the end result is purified feedstock to put back into the manufacturing process. Here's the aluminum, here's the old bits of plastic, and so forth.

Obviously, if this were really cheap and economical the companies would be doing it already, they wouldn't be going out to get fresh feedstock. So, I take it the crushing and separating just isn't economical yet? Or is it not even quite technically possible?

Re:Crush and recycle, what am I missing? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529239)

You probably just managed to make the recycling problem a lot harder. Now you have powder that has to be centrifuged but there's no guarantee or science that I know of that will separate out the constituent particles so that you can say, these be aluminum. What you are likely to get are strata composed of really well mixed stuff that will be almost impossible to separate short of chemical processes. Those processes tend to be on the dirty side.

Re:Crush and recycle, what am I missing? (1)

SlashMaster (62630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529637)

Good Point!

I helped with a recycling facility design that would separate out the plastics from electronics waste ( yes, that actually occurs without going across the water also ). It can be done.

Electronics:
Electronic Recycling generally involves precious metals along with Lead and Nickel. I learned years ago at Amateur Radio Swapmeets (Hamfests) that there is blast furnace in Rockford, IL that will burn your circuit boards down and provide you with an ingot of GOLD, Silver, and another with all of the rest of the metals that were in the circuit boards ( again, no shipping of goods across the water involved ).

Goodwill has always been a willing recipient of my junk computers and monitors. The PCs don't even need to work!

Picture tubes from TVs and Monitors are definitely a separate difficult case though. - I cannot address this myself at this time.

I expect that much of this should go away shortly from the manufacturer's level due to most large and especially multi-national manufacturers having internal committees in-place for probably at least 10years that help ensure that their products and methods don't pollute the landfills as they want to live here also.

Tax It?
We presently have a deposit on Soda and Alcohol containers in Iowa. Years ago, this deposit was really an incentive for people to return the bottles as they were so expensive to make. However, it has now turned into a container tax. Perhaps we now need deposits on Milk Jugs, Cereal Boxes, Cans, Glass Jugs, any Plastic Containers, and even plastic bags also? - not.

I recommend that our communities and businesses develop recycling plans to reduce the amount of recycleables that end-up in the land-fills in general rather than considering new ways of taxing this relatively budding industry - Scrap metal was at a premium up until last summer when the economy tanked.

Re:Crush and recycle, what am I missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529737)

Obviously, if this were really cheap and economical the companies would be doing it already

You forget that most companies think in short term profits because MBAs are too greedy and often too stupid to think in long term. A recycling plant is, on the other hand, although quite profitable, is a long term investment.

Already in Europe(tm) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528793)

Bah, this has been common in Europe for some years. Also, where I live, if your dispose of your electronics properly you get to pay less garbage collection tax.

Re:Already in Europe(tm) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529095)

Garbage collection tax? Yeah. Sounds like Europe. No thanks! We here in the free world prefer our taxes low, and with representation. I pay my garbage collector directly. Their employees pay income tax.

What are your income tax rates now in bass-ackwards land? 70%? 80%? Whatever it is it's fucking ridiculous. How does it feel going to work and having your income redistributed among the masses?

Re:Already in Europe(tm) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529283)

It actually feels quote good having better air, better food, better healthcare, longer live expectancy, lower crime rates and fewer tetraethyl-lead-induced retards like you whose definition of free world is being free to fuck up everything and be proud about it.

It will motivate them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528825)

.. to move production overseas.

Re:It will motivate them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529957)

It would not do that. That would at least double their transportation costs because now then they would have to haul all our trash overseas to do the recycling...

Landfill is cheapest and lowest impact (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528849)

Fact is, that in most parts of the U.S., land is abundant and cheap compared to the problems posed by recycling problematic and impure materials like electronics. Recycling is a pollution prone process at best, more so when chemical separation steps are involved. The zen-like aesthetic appeal of a closed system of recycling doesn't match reality. Goods like these can, at best, be "downcycled" into products of considerably lower utility and value

In the post-RoHS, post-CRT era, electronics are no more problematic a waste than those Rubbermaid laundry baskets people buy.

Planned Obsolescence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528853)

Kind of makes planned obsolescence come back to bite the manufacturer in the ass, doesn't it?

The end user will be the one paying for it in the long run anyway.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528945)

So please tell me oh wise AC how you are supposed to make something that doesn't get obsoleted in a few years? Should we all be using Pentium CPUs right now because if we upgrade to a Pentium II there will be a Pentium III eventually and then a Pentium 4, etc. And even during the times that Intel stalled on making CPUs, AMD took the lead and advanced new technologies (like x86-64). Should we all be playing on Atari 2600s? Because you know if we get a NES we would eventually have to upgrade to a SNES, then a N64 then a GameCube then a Wii.

Technology changes. What is current today will not be current 3 years from now.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529009)

No but if manufacturers kept to a certain chip design many components in a computer would be reusable. Replacing merely the chip instead of the entire until. Replacing the motherboard a little less often than that, replacing the RAM even a little less often, replacing the CD/DVD drives when they break, replacing a mouse and keyboard when they break... there are many many ways we can limit or decrease our comsumption.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529199)

But there is still the issue of speed. You can use old methods of RAM and have an incredible amount of RAM for an old computer... Yet the RAM is slow. It requires a major change of archetecture to go from DDR to DDR2 to DDR3. Its not as simple as just letting you have a few more slots. Same with PCI and PCI express. Then there in miniaturization. I could still place my tiny media center PC in my old circa 1995 PC case, but that kinda kills the point of miniaturization. Also you have to remember the masses are not computer experts. What takes us 2 minutes to do (like changing the RAM) will more than likely take them well over an hour or pay expensive fees for someone to do it for them (like $15-20 for just changing out the RAM in an ordinary desktop). There is also the HD battle, people want the best picture. DVDs can not provide the resolution that Blu-Ray can in a disk. A DVD player cannot play a Blu-Ray disk. Also, VGA only goes to a certain point in resolution, HDMI is going to get you better picture. What you are proposing would only lead to even more waste because no one is going to use an RF modulator to connect their Blu-Ray player to their HD TV so that goes in the trash and they might have to buy the HDMI cable.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529919)

Insightful my arse. Most time the CPU just idles. A decent PC from 5 years ago is still good enough for nearly all tasks. And speaking of Atari 2600, it was sold for 13 years. NES was sold for 12 years, completely obliterating your point.

Re:Planned Obsolescence (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530551)

Planned obsolescence has nothing to do with launching a new model with added features. It means that a product is designed with inherited design flaws that will end up break it or render it unusable. We are talking about, for example, MP3 players that come with soldered-on batteries that only support a limited number of recharges before becoming unusable/unrechargeable, calculators/cell phones whose keys start to fail after a few months of use or that capacitors on your motherboard of choice would start popping out only after a couple months of use.

In the case of a Pentium III, planned obsolescence doesn't mean that you will not be able to play Crysis on it but that, for example, after some time it would start to give random errors that would end up making any OS crash.

earth is a closed loop system (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528855)

We need to start treating it like one.

so what you're saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529065)

earth is a closed loop system

So the earth will receive the feedback we're giving it and react to come to a new equilibrium? Wouldn't the earth be an open loop system?

Change comsumption not disposal... (1)

danking (1201931) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528871)

Well I agree with the idea of recycling but a new paradigm is needed. We as a species consume way too much which creates way too much waste. Around 1% of all consumer goods are disposed of within months after purchase. We are in need of a cycle that is more symbiotic and less parasitic towards the earth.

Require MFG to tax the consumer for the state (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28528877)

Is what it really means. So the state doesn't want to be liable for what is in their landfills and as such passes the responsibility onto manufacturers because the state cannot go after every consumer but can damn well go after a manufacture. As such costs go up as everyone pays for the small percentage of people tossing stuff wrongly.

It is an easy sale for governments, big bad evil companies versus poor little school children drinking polluted water.

Just like the deposit tax on bottles, we all pay it, but who benefits? Supposedly all of us, but who gets the money and who benefits by it not being done?

I have no problem with manufactures being encouraged to make cleaner products, I do have a problem by the lies foisted onto the public how its the manufacturers responsibility to ensure disposal of the device after its use. How long before the disposal becomes a requirement by law? These laws can eventually turned into a system where all we do is lease everything we use because the manufacture can use government mandates stating that product "X" must be turned in NOW because the state claims that something about it doesn't fit current environmental laws, all at the behest of some good lobbying.

Won't work, tried in the past. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528881)

Paper made from hemp is better for the environment, but we all know that some greedy asshole paper barons had some well paid for lobbyists to make sure their income didn't diminish. Now we have a fake war on drugs as a way to make even more money. If anything, recycling should be made illegal, the feds should create a NREA (no-recycling enforcement agency) for the sake of the all-mighty dollar!

A hope for durability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28528989)

I hope this would encourage factories to keep producing something that could handle some beatings. Just like my current Nokia 3310. I've lost count of how many mobiles my friends have changed because their old ones are dead (like, one dead every year or two). I missed the old days where things are built to last.

Re:A hope for durability (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529211)

No, it will encourage manufacturers to make products that are even crappier. They are going to be charged some amount for every cellphone they sell. It won't matter if the phone breaks down in 6 months, 1 year or 20 years. In order to maintain their profit margins, they will increase what they charge their customers and reduce the cost of production (in other words build even shoddier junk).

This already is law in the EU (2, Insightful)

quax (19371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529031)

Manufactures already have programs [sony.net] to take back their junk in order to comply with the WEEE EU directive [wikipedia.org] . This has been law now for more than 5 years. Rather than discussing this idea as something theoretical lawmakers in the US would be well advised to study if an how this works in Europe.

Lack Of Thought Sinks Nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529127)

Yea, it's easy to not think about it and blame the mean old corporations. It's not my fault that I bought a computer and now regard it as garbage. It's the manufacturer's fault, right? They should be responsible. Plus I don;t want to spend mY money disposing of this "garbage".

Think for just a micro second. Please! What do you think the manufacturers are going to do? They are going to raise the price of their products to cover the cost. Then they are going to add an addition "disposal fee" or tax. You are going to pay for it and thanks to legislation you'll pay way more than if you simply recycled it your self.

This is DUMB but, the epidemic lack of thought will sink this nation.

Re:Lack Of Thought Sinks Nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529739)

and they'll make products easier to dispose of, because now it affects their bottom line.

Ergo, in energy terms, the cycle is now more efficient

How it fares monitarily is up for debate.

Might force elimination of Obsolescence by design (3, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529327)

If this is what it takes to return the United States to a proper service economy instead of the rampant consumerism we've had forced down our throats for the last 30+ years, then I'm all for it because I'd personally be willing to spend a bit more for a product that can be repaired easily and that doesn't fall apart the day after the warranty expires unlike the crap I've seen for the last decade.

Re:Might Cure Cancer And AIDS (1)

EcoShmeco (1588541) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529893)

If this is what it takes to return the United States to a proper service economy instead of the rampant consumerism...

If that was what it took then it may well be a good thing. But, all historical evidence indicates that it's FAR more likely to simply raise cost and increase governmental interference while still churning out the same old stuff. Hoping that something is good doesn't make it so. All the optimism in the world won't alter reality. Surely you've figured that out by now.

Goodbye "Disposable" Generation (2, Interesting)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529403)

There is a lot of money in recycling - the industry continues to grow. Don't tell me that this effort needs to cost anybody anything aside a few extra acres for a new company with new jobs. Anything else is an excuse for raping the public in some nefariously placed capitalistic manner.

Further, as a people, we have every-right to mandate laws that will help reduce the waste stream and provide a better quality of live for our citizens. Its not big government - its clean air and water so we don't die via poisoning ourselves. There is no room for the big-government argument here. Mandate recyclable, non-toxic materials, and let a new industry make a profit from it - maybe then China cant sell us bad paint, poisoned toys and sheetrock, etc... and we actually retain our health and American prosperity instead.

And its noted in several posts that companies are already doing this on their own - with their own initiatives because they are tired of the same old arguments as well; Moreover they realize there is great money in it with no need to rape the consumer further than they do already.

To Hell with the disposable generation - the industrial age must grow up and realize its not about consumables as much as its about sustainability. A new, Green economy needs to also consider durable and non-durable goods alike.

Sounds like more Idiot, Moron, democrat socialist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28529411)

Sounds like more Idiot, Moron, democrat socialist garbage to me!

Consumers are responsible for thier own choices and waste! NOT MANUFACTURORS!

The idea that manufacturors are reponsible for the recycling and waste of thier products AFTER the sale of the item is IRRESPONSIBLE and IDIOTIC!

I am sick an tired of this idiotic, moronic, democrat idea that "it is not my fault; it is not my responsibility; it is everyone else but me; it is big business; it is the banks; etc."

Impeach obama! impeach b.o.!

Remove the CZARS! They have no congressional or any other oversight!

stop printing money! Your deflating our dollar! Soon, noone will buy our debt because we can never pay it back!

Impeach all democrats!

Impeach all liberals, progressives, facisists, socialists, communists!

Deport the illegal aliens!

DO NOT ALLOW SOTOMAYER, the idiot judge that does not even know the law much less enforce it, BE ADDED TO THE SUPREME COURT! HER BAD DECISIONS been over-turned too often! Get someone who actually believes in the letter of the law!

Fund the Yuca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility again - full funding!

Restore funding to hydrogen fuel vehicles! They don't have the battery disposal problems of the obama cars!

Start allowing permits for new and expanded nuclear power plants!!!!! They are SAFE, CLEAN and are an inexpensive source of hydrogen for transportation vehicles!!!!!

NO GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE!!!!! Instead, reform the medical malpractice - too many too large judgements!!!! It is this legal cost that has driven up health care!!!!!!!

One national health insurance regulator instead of seperate state ones. Then require a base, minimum, critical care / hospitalization insurrance that people can afford from PRIVATE INSURRORS!

CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN THAT DO NOT READ THE BILLS AND VOTE 'YES' ON THEM ANYWAY NEED TO BE REMOVED AND CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE!!!!!!

THIS IS HTE MOST IRRESPONSIBLE CONGRESS, WHITE HOUSE, STATE DEPARTMENT, GOVERNMENT WE HAVE EVER HAD!!!!!!

Recycling by manufacturer (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529479)

Apple will take any of their old hardware off your hands and recycle it/dispose of it correctly- just drop it off at an Apple Store. If you're trying to dispose of an old iPod, they'll give you a discount towards the purchase of a new one. Apparently they also recycle stuff from other manufacturers if you buy a new replacement item from them.

Amazon also has a recycling program available for their Kindles- you mail it in and they take care of it from there.

I'm pretty sure Sony has a similar program for their many electronics offerings.

I personally would only take advantage of these programs if the device in question was completely borked. An old iPod or computer can be resold easily enough on craigslist or eBay, but a nonfunctional one is just junk, and I have enough of that in my house as it is.

Some links:
http://www.apple.com/environment/recycling/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200197550
http://www.panasonic.com/environmental/recycling-electronic.asp
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=8198552921644513777

The Global Market makes this difficult (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#28529539)

The whole point of the disposable market is for the makers of products to keep making money. And now with a Global economy, this rings even more true. I'm not against the notion of better disposal of products, but we certainly would have way less of an issue if products were made to last alot longer.

One product that is rather irksome is the lightbulb. There are those new lightbulbs that are made to emit less heat and last have a much longer lifespan, and consumers are finding that the life span is less than a typical light bulb and now the product (the one I'm thinking of) contains a lot of Mercury in it. In this global economy, if we purchase such a light bulb from China, how would we hold the makers responsible for cleanup? They will just turn around and charge a higher price right back onto the consumer.

It's an ugly cycle.

Wait! (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#28530689)

Maybe since they have some responsibility for the cleanup, it will motivate them to think about how you design for the environment and the commodity value at the end of the life

Huh? Whose responsibility is it to design what??

      -dZ.

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