Over the decades, the use of electronics has grown extensively. Unfortunately, with use comes waste. E-waste continued to be the fastest growing source of our total waste stream, and it became clear that something needed to be done to protect our waters from leaking toxic materials. In July 2006, a ban on landfilling of cathode-ray-tubes, such as televisions and computer monitors, went into effect in Minnesota. But a lack of statewide funding for collection and recycling of this electronic waste left the cost burden on consumers and local governments. After several years of disagreement among the interested parties, Conservation Minnesota helped pass a broadly supported consensus bill that required manufacturers to fund the collection program based on their market share.
Six years later, Minnesotans have many options when it comes to recycling their e-waste. Green businesses, like Materials Processing Corp. (MPC) in Mendota Heights, MN, are booming as a result. If you have ever brought your electronics to Best Buy to be recycled, chances are it ended up at MPC. Once at MPC, you can be assured that 95% of the aluminum, steel, copper wire, precious metals, plastic and glass gets recycled. The remaining 5% is turned into fuel at renewable energy plants. MPC doesn’t even own a single dumpster!
The Electronic Waste Recycling Bill is not only good for our environment, but it’s also good for economy. The surge in e-cycling has meant new jobs for Minnesotans as businesses expand to meet the needs of the growing volume of material.
Moving forward, we hope to see an expansion of the law the law to include printers, digital video recorders, set-top TV boxes, video game consoles and DVD players.