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Growth of E-Waste May Lead to National 'E-Fee'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the e-xactly-what-we-e-want dept.

United States 199

jcatcw writes "A bill in Congress would add a recycling charge to the cost of laptop PCs, computer monitors, televisions and some other electronic devices, according to a story at Computerworld. The effort to control what's called e-waste could lead to a national 'e-fee' that would be paid just like a sales tax. Nationwide the cost could amount to $300 million per year. Already, California, Washington, Maryland and Maine have approved electronics recycling laws, and another 21 states plus Puerto Rico, are considering them."

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And that.... (0, Flamebait)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198430)

That would mean that we can just leave them anywhere, right?

We already pay for removal when it works.... Well, Ill just open my truckbed with all these computer junk parts and gun it. Thats what road crews are for, right?

Reminds me of the stupid "music cd" tax. And the RIAA still sues, even when you buy and trade tariff'ed discs that go directly to the labels for 'assumption of copyright infringement'.

Re:And that.... (5, Interesting)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198464)

Actually we have already implemented that here in Ireland [weeeireland.ie] and I have to say as a consumer it's something I'm happy with. I pay an extra couple of cent or maybe a couple of euro on the big electric/electronic items and I get to have my old items disposed of correctly in a manner that is better for the environment.
It's pretty similar to the plastic bag tax. Many resisted it at first but it really did put it into perspective for shoppers. Everyone here reuses their bag-for-life, and when you really do have to buy a plastic bag you make sure it's used a few times. I don't usually welcome new taxes - and why would I - but it's nice to see something being done for the greater good.

Re:And that.... (1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198598)

Well, part of my post might be a bit foreign to the way your citizens act.. Quite a few people in rural places just dump their trash over a ridge or down a stream, hoping for it to go "out of sight". Recently, we had some assholes do the "fill truck with garbage, open tailgate, hit the accelerator" gag near our land and spread probably about 100 lbs of garbage.

Also, I'm extremely skeptical of any new taxes, knowing how much wasting our government can do. Perhaps you didnt hear of it, but when Bill Clinton was in office, there was a national story of a toilet seat that cost 5000$ (notice that Clinton was not involved in that price, but indicates the date). Evidently, Air Force 1 couldnt use just any standard seat, so one had to have been crafted.

It would be nice to see a smallish government that cares for its citizens by not squandering money and treating the people like buffoons. Then again, I guess I could move to Ireland ;)

Re:And that.... (1)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198724)

The funny thing is that by your post I could have sworn you were from Ireland :D The same happens here, and it is a recent thing that our government has implemented such forward thinking laws. I think this is mostly due in part to EU legislation. Believe me the toilet seat trick you mentioned happens all the time in Irish politics.

Re:And that.... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198856)

Heh, the more things change, the more they stay the same ;)

Well, if it works for you, it probably will work for us.. Though, the only worry is that I keep equipment a long time.

I wonder if the deposit will be linked to inflation? Im guessing not.

Re:And that.... (2, Informative)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198870)

Perhaps you didnt hear of it, but when Bill Clinton was in office, there was a national story of a toilet seat that cost 5000$

That's pretty standard pricing for aircraft toilet equipment. Remember the mythbusters where they did a myth about being sucked into the toilet when it flushes? They had to buy one for the myth test and it was thousands of dollars.

Re:And that.... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199320)

Just give me all your unneeded computer equipment. I wouldnt mind having some old Pentiums around.

Instead of throwing them away the government should find a way to recycle them.

Re:And that.... (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198584)

> That would mean that we can just leave them anywhere, right?
>
> We already pay for removal when it works.... Well, I'll just open my truckbed with all these computer junk parts and gun it. Thats what road crews are for, right?

Naw. Y'see, the last time someone figured he'd rather than make two little piles of garbage...

Sing it with me the next time it comes 'round on the guitar. [slashdot.org]

Re:And that.... (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198600)

We just got something similar here. (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2006/12/04/ewa ste.html). I can now drop off any of the equipment at our local SARCAN staions (same place we take bottles, cans, milk jugs, etc). Personally, I'm all for it. The extra $10 or so on a computer is worth it to me knowing that the old equipment will be properly disposed of.

Re:And that.... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198722)

"We just got something similar here. (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2006/12/04/ewa ste.html). I can now drop off any of the equipment at our local SARCAN staions (same place we take bottles, cans, milk jugs, etc). Personally, I'm all for it. The extra $10 or so on a computer is worth it to me knowing that the old equipment will be properly disposed of."

Everywhere I've lived...it is treated as normal old garbage. You put it out with all the other garbage twice a week...the trashman picks it up, and hauls it away.

That is, if some 'dumpster diver' types haven't already grabbed it overnight....

Re:And that.... (1)

cecilgol (977329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199628)

That is, if some 'dumpster diver' types haven't already grabbed it overnight....
You broke it, threw it out... I fixed it, and post on /. now. Free computer.

And that....Taxing posts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198604)

"Reminds me of the stupid "music cd" tax. And the RIAA still sues, even when you buy and trade tariff'ed discs that go directly to the labels for 'assumption of copyright infringement'."

That only applies to Canadians. And the situation isn't comparable on several points.

Already the law in Belgium (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198614)

We already pay a recycling tax on electronic equipment here in Belgium. As far as I understand it, you can just return electronic equipment to stores selling such, and they dispose of it.

Make it (partially) refundable (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198698)

If the fee is high enough (say, $10 or even $50), you will want to bring the dead equipment for (partial) refund to a place, which will gladly process it (paid for by the rest of the fee).

Kind of like cans and bottles, except their meager 5c fee is not enough to encourage anyone to clean them up, not even the "poor" homeless...

Re:Make it (partially) refundable (1)

jcorno (889560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198956)

If the fee is high enough (say, $10 or even $50), you will want to bring the dead equipment for (partial) refund to a place, which will gladly process it (paid for by the rest of the fee).

Recycling should MAKE money. Maybe if they base the amount you get back on the ease of reclaiming the materials, it would encourage more responsible manufacturing. They could set up a rating system, like a 1-10 scale for a 10-100% rebate, or something similar. It might even encourage people to get rid of old equipment sooner (I know I keep a lot of old crap laying around just in case I need it), so it should be easy to get the manufacturers involved.

Re:Make it (partially) refundable (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199144)

Recycling should MAKE money.

Yes, it SHOULD. But right now, for most materials, it doesn't. It requires a government-imposed extra fee in order to show a 'profit'. But that profit is just a bookkeeping game to cover up what is actually and obviously a waste of resources.

Maybe if they base the amount you get back on the ease of reclaiming the materials, it would encourage more responsible manufacturing. They could set up a rating system, like a 1-10 scale for a 10-100% rebate, or something similar. It might even encourage people to get rid of old equipment sooner (I know I keep a lot of old crap laying around just in case I need it), so it should be easy to get the manufacturers involved.

The core meaning of 'unprofitable' means: consumes more energy than it produces. So when a thing fails to make money, that's the market's way of telling you that you are wasting your natural resources... your time foremost among them.

Until such time as recycling processes are actually profitable, it's better to bury the junk in a landfill. There it will stay until an engineered bacteria or nanobot or digester robot or whatever gets invented to reprocess it cheaply.

Re:Make it (partially) refundable (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199396)

no way I'd be keen on having the stuff in landfill digested.

After decades of metals and plastics being buried, can you conceive just how much money is locked up in landfill sites? The mind salivates, or would if it had the glands.

I'd want to mine them, not mush them.

Re:Make it (partially) refundable (2, Insightful)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199184)

Yes, but it doesn't because its cheaper to get new stuff. Once resources cost enough to reprocess them, we will do that, which is why I advocate putting all our precious resources in the same place so that they are easy to retrieve in the future. I call this place a "garbage dump".

Re:And that.... (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198718)

One reasonable scheme is to impose a fee, which you can recover at least part of when you dispose of the machine at a recycling facility. The rest of the fee would cover the recycling costs. Would dumping be worth the loss of your deposits?

Re:And that.... (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198842)

That would be similar to a car battery Core Charge.

Re:And that.... (4, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198760)

That would mean that we can just leave them anywhere, right?

We already pay for removal when it works.... Well, Ill just open my truckbed with all these computer junk parts and gun it. Thats what road crews are for, right?
- Well isn't that the point of these changes? Right now it costs you to choose to recycle it. Now you'll have to pay recycling fees up front so it's no longer financially beneficial to not recycle it.

Re:And that.... (5, Insightful)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198778)

I do what every self respecting geek does. Fill my basement with hardware going back 20 years... never know what you might need.

Re:And that.... (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199066)

Used to do that. But then new harddrives kept getting new cables standards - so while the old cable worked, it wouldn't allow for the highest speed. Flat screens made the 3-4 CRT monitors laying around obsolete (and much less attractive on a desk). Some of the older ethernet cable from a few years back isn't good enough for gigabyte ethernet that is coming out. Some of the cable isn't good enough. No one uses floppy anymore. PCI video cards are way obsolete. Extra internal modem is laughable. Old sound cards not really better than newer integrated solution - besides all these cards may not have easy to find drivers (in Windows, good old linux supports them). Old USB sticks are way too small for modern needs.

About the only thing that hasn't changed are the case screws. Except for screws, telephone/cat5/cable lines, threw out lots of obsolete hardware last summer. Take up space for no good reason. Buying a new computer is usually cheaper when I consider time involved. Besides, with energy costs, have one computer be the be-all server is more efficient than having several old computers do the various jobs. Better yet, cut down on servers - let google handle email. Modern laser printer costing more than the minimum includes print server too - no need for seperate computer sucking up energy.

Yada, yada, yada.

Re:And that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198902)

My guess is that a slob like you will do it anyway, this just means the rest of us don't have to pay for it.

Re:And that.... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198942)

That would mean that we can just leave them anywhere, right?...Well, Ill just open my truckbed with all these computer junk parts and gun it.

No thats either littering or dumping and that means your a slob who has no home training. Just one of my pet peeves, people who don't want their trash on their property but are more than will to go through all the trouble to dump it one someone else's property.

Re:And that.... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198984)

Speaking of pet peeve, that should be you're a slob not your a slob. My mistake.

Re:And that.... (1)

CriX (628429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199014)

e-gads! Man, that is so Web 1.0 of them.

Re:And that.... (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199212)

When you buy a car battery, you pay a core fee. You get that fee back by returning your old battery (or avoid it by bringing it in) for recycling or proper disposal.

Why not do the same with electronics? Whenever you buy new electronics, if you bring in old ones for recycling you don't have to pay the fee.

Re:And that.... (1)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199570)

[blockquote]That would mean that we can just leave them anywhere, right?[/blockquote]

No, it would be the same way as they already do for tires I imagine. You're not paying for the freedom to do anything you like with the refuse; you're paying to defray the cost of proper disposal.

It's not around me, so what happens? (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198438)

If I pay the tax, then drop the stuff in the trahscan to get picked up by the muni wate trucks, does that money vanish? Does it just line the pockets of the contractor that gets the disposal contract? Does it just end up the general fund?

Re:It's not around me, so what happens? (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198502)

I guess it depends on the city.

There are some cities that hire people to sift through the trash and separate out recyclables.

Personally, the idea of doing that job seems rubbish to me.

Re:It's not around me, so what happens? (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198772)

They have a huge room where your $10 is attached with a clothespin to a copy of the receipt for your monitor. Then when it gets recycled they match it up by serial number and pay your $10 to a contractor. If you don't recycle it, eventually they have to build a bigger room.

Think of 5c on cans! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198828)

The 5c (or whatever) can recycling "tax" on cans is an excellent example of how this can work. If there is an insentive, then a service will emerge.

You pay the tax up-front. You can hand the unit in to a recycling centre, they pay you some sort of refund (to say thanx for not dumping it, or -- like cans -- to promote dumpster diving homeless folk to bring them in) and they get paid to reprocess out of the rest of the tax.

Agreed (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198448)

E-waste has been a big problem. I like what Microsoft did, with converting their e-trash bins into e-recycle bins. Thought it would be nice, *cough cough* if they made the "bright idea" lightbulb in MS Word a CFL.

You gotta think, we just use and use all these 1's and 0's, but no one realizes that their deletion increases the entropy of the universe.

'bout time (4, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198454)

I'm all in favor of putting the real costs up front. It's almost impossible to enforce a fee at disposal time. People will just find some other way to hide these things in the trash or dump them.

Overpackaging goods with three layers of boxes and plastic should be taxed, too.

Re:'bout time (1)

undeaf (974710) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198652)

I'm all in favor of putting the real costs up front. It's almost impossible to enforce a fee at disposal time. People will just find some other way to hide these things in the trash or dump them.

Exactly. And add a deposit fee to it so that people will make sure to dispose of it properly.

Re:'bout time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198908)

They need to take it a step further and apply it to all goods. Building in the cost of responsible disposal would greatly level the playing field between manufacturers in countries with differing enviro regulations and make "green" products cost competitive.

Also need to build in a credit system that would reward manfacturers that build products that are serviceable. The current philosophy of having almost any failure in a unit resulting in disposal is ludicrous.

Re:'bout time (-1, Troll)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199390)

Stupidity should be taxed, too. That way postings like yours would cost you REAL money.

Why bother? (2, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198480)

When I've got a PC that crashes and burns, I strip out any useful parts and put it by the curb. Some idiot will always take the thing home thinking it might work.

Re:Why bother? (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198552)

When I've got a PC that crashes and burns, I strip out any useful parts and put it by the curb. Some idiot will always take the thing home thinking it might work.
Awhile ago my dad put his old 8088 PC onto the curb, and someone took it. It still worked too. We used to play Hack 103 on that thing. Ah, memories.

Re:Why bother? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199484)

Awhile ago my dad put his old 8088 PC onto the curb, and someone took it. It still worked too. We used to play Hack 103 on that thing. Ah, memories.


Oh, man... I would have picked that one up in a heartbeat.. my 8088's floppy disk isn't working to well anymore.... gotta love the old hercules graphics!

Thanks,

Mike

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18199364)

YOU! You are the guy who keeps putting that stuff out on the curb! Man, if it doesn't work, you are supposed to put it in a trash bag. The is the Code of the Curb.

Don't lie to me, baby (4, Insightful)

rubmytummy (677080) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198482)

To say "Nationwide, that cost would amount to about $300 million per year," is disingenuous at best. The price is already being paid in the long-term destructive consequences of not recycling toxic electronic waste. Something like this fee (assuming it works) doesn't add cost, it makes the cost more visible and more constructive.

Now, now, don't forget . . . (2, Insightful)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198682)

. . . if you can sweep a problem under a rug -- or, in this case, bury it under some trash bags in a dumpster -- it doesn't show up on the Accounts Payable.

Or, put another way, externalities are for the next generation to deal with. Or ignore and pass along.

Hey, I'm a civil servant! (5, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198488)

As a longtime dumpster-diver/rescuer of unwanted computer parts, I look forward to drawing a salary from the taxpayers.

Like many other environmental policy... (4, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198498)

It's well-intentioned and poorly conceived. Now we'll get a new tax for the government to "just increase a little bit" at a time, so we don't notice how our total tax burden increases at absurd intervals every year. Just like wage withholding and social security actually costing you 15% of your paycheck, but only having us ever see 7.5% taken.

Re:Like many other environmental policy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18199166)

Not everybody and their employers pay 15% in Social Security tax (which is raided by... excuse me, "loaned to" the general fund).

Only us peons who make less than $75,000 per year. Bill Gates and Microsoft (And Sun and Larry Ellison and Oracle and...) pay 1%. If the rich and their employers had to pay the same 15% I and my employer do, the SS shortfall "problem" would go away so fast and generate so much revinue they could lower the retiremt age to 50. And I'd retire! Whee! Whooppee!

Of course, that has about as much chance of happening as the chance I'll find a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk.

Alberta, Canada already does this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198512)

And it seems to be working... we've got a pretty good eRecycling program going here.
http://www3.gov.ab.ca/env/waste/ewaste/faq.html [gov.ab.ca]

Re:Alberta, Canada already does this (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198710)

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have recycling fees collected, and programs in place to collect old printers, monitors (TVs too) and computers. http://www.sweepit.ca/ [sweepit.ca] is one site with more information on the fee, which is paid by consumers, since industry started the program after being approached by the government.

I think industry should be picking up the tag, and including it in their delivery price, so that consumers still pay, but industry has an incentive to make products with a longer shelf, and durable life.

Absolute Silliness (0, Troll)

Needs Food Badly (995632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198522)

Of all the things that they can and do tax, now they want to put a tax on recycling? Don't we already have plants that do recycling? I know I already pay fees to have my garbage and recycling picked up and processed-- I sure don't want to pay a second fee on my electronics. I don't care if the tax is no more than 10$ like the article says, it's an additional grievance that I certainly don't want to deal with. Either they have the means to recycle the sorts of material that are in electronics, in which case the fees I already pay for recycling can cover that, or they don't have the means to recycle this stuff. In that case, they need to quit their porkbarrelling and use some already existing tax money to get that infrastructure in place and then come back to me.

Re:Absolute Silliness (3, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199040)

I don't care if the tax is no more than 10$ like the article says, it's an additional grievance that I certainly don't want to deal with. Either they have the means to recycle the sorts of material that are in electronics, in which case the fees I already pay for recycling can cover that, or they don't have the means to recycle this stuff.
Recycling electronics is more difficult than other recycling, thus it costs more, and isn't generally done. Therefore to pay for recycling of electronics more money is required. If you like this money could be levied by raising the fees you already pay for recycling, or by putting a tax directly on electronics. That is, the means to recycle electronics exist in theory, but aren't running in practice because there isn't enough money to pay to run them. Right now electronics waste is a negative externality that we happily sweep under the carpet by shipping it to towns [flickr.com] in China [flickr.com] and India [bbc.co.uk] , where it degrades or is broken down in an unsafe manner [flickr.com] , and the toxic materials leach into the water table. All the resulting suffering and human cost is in the back-blocks of China, however, which the Chinese government certainly doesn't care about and you can safely ignore. One way or another, however, those costs have to be paid. All this proposal is doing is making you pay the costs (or at least some of them) up front. So take your choice - higher recycling fees, a tax on electronics, or misery and suffering in far away countries. The easy option is clear; the right option on the other hand...

Re:Absolute Silliness (1)

Needs Food Badly (995632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199198)

I'm well aware of the need and difficulty involved in recycling electronics, but simply put, I don't want to pay for it. Yes, I'm being hideously selfish, I just want my government to handle it with all the money it is already sucking away from me.

I hate what's being currently done, (shipping it overseas... nasty stuff.) but I don't think an additional tax is going to help. They'll add a new tax, but they'll keep up the practice of shipping things overseas because it will still be cheaper and easier for them. They'll be congratulated for their efficient use of funds, and all that tax money will go into a nice raise for whoever brainstormed this.

Re:Absolute Silliness (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199042)

The point is that you pay at purchase instead of pickup so you have no financial incentive to just dump it somewhere in the countryside.

Electronics are hazardous waste, you can't stuff them into normal recycling plants, you'll always pay for getting rid of them. Better force people to pay that right away rather than make them decide it's cheaper to chug that stuff into other people's backyards.

Windows (4, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198526)

Considering how many of these e-waste PC's are perfectly functional computers with 1+ Ghz speed processors, which can be upgraded to 512MB-1GB of RAM and remain functional for another 5 years for Grandma Internets...yet they are thrown out because they are full of spyware and adware and molassesware, it would be fair to tax the source of the problem: poorly programmed operating systems, like Windows.

Re:Windows (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199152)

it would be fair to tax the source of the problem: poorly programmed operating systems, like Windows.

If we could put that tax revenue back into alternative fuels, find a way to tap the energy from Apple users' excess smugness, and achieve a 10% reduction in the energy needed to install Linux; we could go carbon neutral in no time!

-Eric

In that case (2, Funny)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198566)

I'll just have to dump it in the e-river!

TAX ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198624)

No wonder, Democrats won on Nov 2. I can't believe that the war in Iraq will finally affect me.

Rather than just recycle them... (3, Insightful)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198636)

donate those machines to public schools and filter them throughout the school system and recycle the oldest machines. Work out a deal with Microsoft (or just use something else) and put whatever software needs to be on the machine for the school to use it properly.

So when I was in high school, we desperately needed better computers in various locations throughout the school. I imagine that both elementary and middle schools are in the same boat. Businesses are on what, a two or three year hardware upgrade cycle? Wouldn't this kill two birds with one stone?

Schools get new machines and their old (and likely least environmentally friendly) machines would be recycled. Keep the e-fee so that such a program would be funded but in theory it could work. But perhaps I'm just looking out the window of an ivory tower.

Maybe you don't define recycle the way I do (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198792)

There are recycling places that sell and donate old equipment. Check this [mountainrecycling.com] one out.

I'd say that any recycling place will set aside anything with resale value.

Re:Rather than just recycle them... (3, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198844)

Actually, that's a big problem for schools and charities. People donate obsolete equipment that either simply cannot be upgraded or would be prohibitively expensive to upgrade.

"Imagine a Beowulf cluster" aside, then they get stuck with the costs of having to recycle them. Your average joe might be able to get away with just chucking them in a dumpster, but higher profile institutions have to do things by the book.

Re:Rather than just recycle them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18198992)

This is probably the best idea, yet.

Several occasions I had wished our high school computer lab was powerful enough to run even basic tools, let alone development tools that weren't as basic and puny as vi. Instead, we had machines that would be guaranteed to have a component or two fry and then, being the founder and member of the ever geeky computer club, I had to fix it. It was horrid thrashing through parts to find something that worked, only to have it fry a few days later. Ah, memories...

E-rectile (0, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198670)

What the fuck is with this "e" bullshit?

what once was a passing fad has turned itself upside down (not unlike the "i" phenomenon)

Before you know it...

e-blood
e-murder
e-cstasy

omg. The roots were always there.

Of course, ecstasy might have provided something a little smarther than such an annoying prefix...

Re:E-rectile (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198800)

Dont forget the E-Chair. We use that invention a lot.

No More Taxes!! (1)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198702)

Don't you guys tax us enough as it is already?!?! This is just a lame excuse to generate more money for the government because they are wasting it on things I will not mention *cough cough IRAQ cough cough *. If you really want to generate money off recycling charge people at drop off. That way I can go dump it in a dumpster and avoid the fee all together :)

Get with the times... (3, Informative)

cianduffy (742890) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198706)

Had these fees for around a year in Ireland now - and its great. I dump all my broken shit back on shops telling them I bought the same type of item off them in the previous month. They usually don't ask for a receipt, and even if they do... well, I got rid of three years of broken or just poor quality headphones (I DJ, they wear out...) with one receipt.

http://www.weeeireland.ie/ [weeeireland.ie] is the manufacturers/sellers grouping that manages it all. On the downside, Amazon no longer sell electronics to Ireland as they're unwilling to collect the fees.

Re:Get with the times... (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198940)

That sounds like a good program, but couldn't they come up with a better name than "weeeireland?" That's just plain ugly.

Re:Get with the times... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199636)

On the downside, Amazon no longer sell electronics to Ireland as they're unwilling to collect the fees.

I suppose it's Amazon's decision, I'm curious how an overseas entity can be expected to handle that. I can understand it if it was collected by customs - that's how taxes are done. It is done this way rather than assuming it's the seller's responsibility to collect taxes for a government entity that has no jurisdiction to do so.

Deposit Fee? (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198732)

For something like this to have any sliver of a chance of doing any good, they'd need to set it up in some form of deposited cash refund, like soda/pop bottles in some states. For example, a retailer charges $15 up front, must accept hardware for recycling, and gives you $10 back for each computer turned in for recycling.

Without any incentive to get stuff recycled, most people would simply prefer to hide it in the trash somehow. Yeah, I realize that a deposit fee system would be a royal PITA to administrate, but without it, you'd never even see 10 percent of computers come back for recycling.

Re:Deposit Fee? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199150)

For example, a retailer charges $15 up front, must accept hardware for recycling, and gives you $10 back for each computer turned in for recycling.

I agree completely, except I'd make it a smaller value. Even $5 for things like car batteries and a couple cents a piece for aluminum cans is more than enough to have the homeless/unemployed going around, collecting them for the money. No doubt somebody could make a good business out of digging them out of landfills, and recycling them as well.

Re:Deposit Fee? (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199202)

I like the soda bottle analogy. But it raises the question of what in a regular computer is recyclable. Soda bottles are easy, either wash and reuse or grind the glass up and make something new. I can't easily see what can be so conveniently reused in a computer.

If it's a federally-mandated tax (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198746)

Will the revenue stay in the communities where the items are purchased, or go into a larger, federal pool? There are arguments for each.
And if I'm being taxed a recycling fee up front, then I shouldn't have to pay anyone when it comes time to dump my old hardware, right?
I think my city's homeowner hazardous waste recycling center already accepts, for free, consumer electronics/computers from individuals, as long as they have proof of residency, anyway.

Re:If it's a federally-mandated tax (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198898)

That's actually the idea. We have it here in Alberta, it's provincially run, so it's a little better than federal. The point is to get rid of the fees to dump old hardware. i'm a packrat so i've still got my 14" hercules monitor in my basement, so I really don't know if there's still a fee or not... it's been on for a few years now. It really doesn't add that much to the cost. i mean you're spending $200 whats another 10?

And the poor will have fewer computers (1)

CosmicLaxative (609396) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198794)

I'm all for recycling but adding a tax onto the buying of a computer is just going to make it less likely that someone poor will buy one. The net effect is poorer families will have fewer computers.

There are good ways to pay for public project and there are good ways to tax. It doesn't seem like this is one of them.

How do the poor pay for computers now? (2, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198944)

It costs me in the region of $25 to dispose of an old computer & monitor now. Charging up front would surely make the cost drop.

Sure it's moving to an up-front cost instead of an end of life cost- but it's still there.

It would seem that if you've got $500 to spend on a computer, then having to pay $515 is unlikely to deter you.

The much more likely result is that computers will be $15-slower so that they can maintain the same price points.

Why stop at e fees? (2, Interesting)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198814)

Why not force manufacturers and service providers to pay for the waste they generate from their items? If McDonald's had to tack on a fee for every napkin or every Big Mac box, you can bet that they'd cut down a lot on waste to keep people from not being able to afford eating there.

Re:Why stop at e fees? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199016)

Manufacturers won't pay, the consumer will. Any costs will get passed on in higher prices.

Re:Why stop at e fees? (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199328)

If you follow that logic, higher prices reduce demand which does make the manufacturer pay.

Re:Why stop at e fees? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199424)

ROFL, My pet peeve. They have too much $$$ to make it stick, we tried.

WA state has a litter tax on gross sales for many businesses.....Fast food joints are now exempt! Where the fuck do they think the litter comes from? Well they know but bought off my McD and friends. Obviously .015% of sales would surely bankrupt the poor clown. But we have to pay as a medical supply company. Ensure=nontaxable food=grocery store=tax :/

No doubt this would turn out the same.

And where are these laws they mention for WA? Last time I ASKED they (collection/recycling line) said to just dump the monitor in the trash!

Great! More gov't fees! (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198816)

So, if/when the feds enact their fee, the states will repeal theirs, right?
No?
why aren't I surprised?
 
The answer to everything in the world is not having the federal government charge a fee and create more wasteful programs.

Proposal (3, Funny)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198840)

Or we can just gather up all our trash into giant garbage ball and shoot it into space. Then we let the people in the year 3000 worry about our trash.

Fine, but keep an eye on manufacturers then. (1)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198846)

There's no doubt that the growing amount of ewaste is a huge problem, but if we're going to charge the consumer for the fee, then there should be stiff penalties for companies like Epson and HP that put kill-switches into their printers to cause them to fail prematurely.

HP killswitch. [consumerist.com]
Epson killswitch. [google.ca]

Strange as it may seem, it works (5, Informative)

Mutatis Mutandis (921530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198914)

We already have this system "over here" in Belgium, and it seems to work. For example, I would pay 60 eurocents at the purchase of a new PC, and 3 euros for the purchase of a new screen. And 18.50 euros for a freezer. On the total pricing, it is not a large contribution. Tariffs can be found on recupel's site [recupel.be] .

In return, any supplier is obliged to accept the return of an old appliance, even if he did not sell it. If you buy a new device, the supplier has to accept the old one, free of charge. As far as I know, you are not even obliged to make a purchase if you just want to drop off your old junk at a store, although I am pretty sure that it will be appreciated if you would bring the gear to a recycling center instead.

Typical for us Belgians, I presume, is that our 'recupel' is not a tax, strictly speaking, as it is not paid to the government. It is a obligatory contribution to the coffers of a collection of non-profit organizations. These more or less coincide with the professional organization of the major suppliers of consumer electronics, who do have a legal obligation to take back old equipment. Everything is organized by law, but its day-to-day running is not in the hands of the government. Probably this is more efficient, and besides, it encourages the suppliers to design their devices for easy end-of-life processing.

Re:Strange as it may seem, it works (2, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199224)

It is an EU-wide regulation called WEEE [wikipedia.org]
I definitely like it.

Recycling is now a waste of time and money (1)

Wise Dragon (71071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198928)

Just put it all in a dump. WAY cheaper than conventional recycling, and when Plasma Gasification [google.com] gets to be ubiquitous, someone can make a profit turning it all back into its component elements.

This is a state issue (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18198974)

...not a federal issue. Federal taxes do not pay for land fills or toxic clean ups. WHy should they tax us for e-waste?

Only if they use the funds properly (1)

cl191 (831857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199010)

I have no problem with this "E-fee" concept, I actually think it may be a good idea if it really helps to recycle old electronics. That being said, I hope the fees collected will actually be used on recycling old electronics, not used on some government bureaucrat for totally unrelated things, just like the telephone tax that was supposed to help fund the Spanish-American War.

FYI In California (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199020)

In California we get charged $8.00 (not applicible to sales tax) for every monitor or laptop we buy here. But it's nice when we go to the dump they just take it.

Though if you run a retail business they charge you for dumping monitors (This usually means thrit stores may not have those useful $5 Commodore 1702 monitors on the shelf anymore, only some huge 22" PC beheamoth monitor.)

In Switzerland... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18199028)

In Switzerland you pay a recycling fee when purchasing anything electronic (to cover the retailer's recycling costs).

People return things to the shop instead of throwing them in the trash, because rubbish collection / dumping fees are insanely high, and because people are more environmentally conscious (it's not socially acceptable to just dump everything in the trash).

Other waste-tax? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199140)

I'm sure that discarded computers are pretty low on the list of things filling our dumps. Are there taxes on other things like cars or home appliances to cover the cost of disposing of them?

Pffff (3, Funny)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199178)

REAL geeks don't need e-waste recycling - they just hold on to their stuff until the Computer History Museum offers to haul it away.

(Ok, so I'd still be holding on to the VAX, but with my girlfriend moving in there just wasn't room for both. It was a tough choice.)

Re:Pffff (1)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199516)

(Ok, so I'd still be holding on to the VAX, but with my girlfriend moving in there just wasn't room for both. It was a tough choice.)


Dump the girl, keep the VAX... a lot less headaches! VMS is much more stable than any girlfriend could be.

Thanks,

Mike

Not another stupid law (2, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199186)

It sounds good on the news. Money chages hands. No one can vote against it with being smeared as "anti-environment". And yet it will do absolutly nothing.

Its the perfect law!

Just to clear things up, I like the environment and want recycling, but guys, this is just stupid.

Curbside pickup (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199242)

Just leave your PC's by the curb in a busy urban area, and they WILL be picked up. We used that technique to get rid of two EXTREMELY heavy 286 servers in London. We were about a block from the British Museum, wiped the servers, left them by the curb and ten minutes later, they were gone.

FreeGeek (1)

esvinge (537163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199244)

E-waste is a huge problem and I doubt that adding a tax will be the solution, unfortunately most of the e-waste recycling that happens just ends up shipping stuff over to Asia in the containers that import the soon to be junk anyways. A sustainable operation like Freegeek.org where old computers are taken and triaged to determine whether the components on them are fried and then the useful ones are built into linux systems for and by volunteers and the rest are stripped down to their recyclable parts and taken over to a place that actually grinds the curcuit board down and woalah a lot less e-waste.

Lack of dispsoal (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199352)

What about those of us that dont throw our old hardware out? I still have my first apple II in the garage.. so i get screwed like when i buy a new tire but ask to keep the old one for the spare?

eRecycle? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199468)

So where do I send my used jpgs, gifs and mpgs to for recycling?

E waste (2, Funny)

KevinColyer (883316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199522)

My goodness, does this mean I will have to pay for all the E-mail I delete now???????

mo3 up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18199650)

E-Tax (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18199666)

So what are the odds they'd use the tax for the benefit of e-recycling places? I'm guessing the odds are slim.
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