New law about e-waste (okay new word too)

3 09 2008

I am not sure I have ever heard the word “e-waste” before. It conjurs up visions in my mind of what Rosie, the robot maid on the Jetson’s might expel, or perhaps, all of the outtakes from my various photo shoots. You know, the accidental shots of the floor, that might qualify as “art” in some circles.

We all knew that when we went digital, we were improving the environment. No chemicals, no film made of gelatin (which is made from cows). But it turns out we still have an environmental challenge. When your computer becomes out of date every 3 years, what to do with the old ones?

A law went into effect today in Texas that requires computer manufacturers to accept and recycle old computers that are of their own brand. “The law requires manufacturers offering to sell new computer equipment in or into Texas to provide a program for collecting and recycling of consumers’ used computer equipment.”

A quick look to Apple shows that they will accept any brand for recycling IF you buy a new Mac. But their website doesn’t mention anything about accepting old Apples.

According to the Texas law, they will have to adapt their policy and begin accepting old Macs (in Texas).

More specifically,

  • Manufacturers are only required to collect and recycle computer equipment purchased by individuals primarily for personal or home-business use.
  • Manufacturers are only required to collect and recycle their own brands of computer equipment, not brands owned by other manufacturers.

Aaah, so for the lawyer in all of us, what “is” a computer?

According to the laws, it includes:

  • a monitor,
  • a desktop computer or laptop, and
  • an accompanying keyboard and mouse made by the same manufacturer.

Noticeably absent- cameras and all the computer chips in them.

Also, don’t forget to wipe your computer clean- I mean really clean. A famous basketball player that I photographed told me a story about how he traded in his old computer, and someone called him with the news that all of his personal data was still on the used computer that they bought. Nice that they were honest. I don’t expect all people will be so lucky.

Happy Recycling.

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