In the wake of a much needed electronic waste policy reform for the U.S. Government, banning all federal agencies from disposing of electronic waste in landfills, the EPA along with other advisers have not contained one of the most problematic e-waste issues that currently haunts our landfills.
Environmentalists everywhere are planting face to palm, as one of the most frequently discarded pieces of electronic equipment continues to pollute landfills all across the United States. Sadly, it appears as if this issue is going to continue to be overlooked, as policies set by the EPA are not being followed by federal agencies. Before reading on, it's important to note that these policies have been put in place to protect our communities from the harmful effects of electronic waste.
- One of the EPA's own policies, the Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN), clearly recommends that government agencies need to put procedures and policies in place that give priority to remanufacturing agencies regarding both procuring and recycling ink and toner cartridges. Why (you ask)? It might have something to do with an estimated 300-400 million ink and toner cartridges that end up in U.S. landfills each year, while only 20 million cartridges are recycled - which means that just 17% of all ink and toner cartridges are recycled annually. To give you an idea, every cartridge amounts to roughly 3.5 lbs of solid waste, and takes between 500-1,000 years to fully decompose...
- Government agencies still purchase the majority of their ink and toner cartridges from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), which is a detrimental practice that not only blatantly disregards the standing recommendations from the EPA, but also violates the very ban that has been placed on e-waste pollution from our government.
We need the EPA to crack down on their policies regarding ink and toner cartridge e-waste, and government organizations need to begin actively purchasing and recycling remanufactured ink cartridges. Once the government has embraced this concept, we need businesses to follow suit, and eventually as many individuals as possible.
Think about e-waste as a whole for a second. How often do we throw away used ink or toner cartridges in comparison to cell phones or computers? Now ask yourself, why is overlooking ink and toner cartridge pollution a disaster? Simple, this is the most common, and highest frequency form of e-waste to date. Organizations like the EPA are working on e-waste issues right now, so we need to speak up about this before their attention is diverted to other environmental problems.
Our goal is to Change the number of recycled ink and toner cartridges each year from 17% to at least 50% by 2014...can you help us get there by showing your support, and spreading the word?
Save Our Communities From This Overlooked E-Waste Disaster!
I am reaching out to you today in an attempt to get your organization to enforce policies that are currently being neglected regarding one of the worst electronic waste issues to date - ink and toner cartridge pollution.
As per the RMAN, government agencies should be supporting remanufactured cartridges by purchasing these products in place of the original equipment manufacturer's products, yet they continue to mainly purchase OEM products that have not been recycled. Most, if not all, agencies won't even allow remanufacturers an opportunity to quote them a price. I fear that these agencies are also neglecting participation in recycling programs, considering the lack of support to the remanufactured products thus far.
It's my understanding that the EPA's mission "is to protect human health and the environment", but I fear that your policies regarding ink and toner cartridge waste are being purposefully neglected by government agencies. You have done an amazing job at refining e-waste policies recently, but I ask that you follow through on the second part of how you seek to accomplish your mission statement - enforcing regulations.
Please start enforcing important policies like the RMAN, as ink and toner cartridges are likely the biggest contributor in terms of yearly volume to e-waste pollution. It would also be nice to see more material from the EPA on the harmful effects of ink and toner cartridge e-waste, but businesses and citizens will never change their bad habits if the government refuses to model the behavior. We need our leaders to lead by example, and I have faith that your organization can make it happen.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my letter, and best of luck in the fight against e-waste!