From: The Computer TakeBack Campaign (CTBC)
Published October 19, 2004 11:55 AM

Promoter or Polluter: Rate Greatest E-Waster

Promoter or Polluter: Rate Greatest E-Waster
People asked to rate high-tech company's progress on sustainable manufacturing

On Monday, the Computer TakeBack Campaign (CTBC) released new findings from its latest research that reveal that Sony’s policies could leave Minnesotans with mountains of Sony products to collect and recycle, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in hidden subsidies. Scrap from obsolete electronics like TVs and computers called e-waste is toxic and is the fastest growing waste stream in the U.S. Sony is one of the companies that are contributing to the ever-growing piles of electronic waste.

Over the last two and half years, activists around the US and throughout the world have been a central component of the Computer TakeBack Campaign's (CTBC) efforts to persuade Dell, Inc. to support the CTBC's goals and platform.

The campaign has been marked by much progress and as a result of Dell's improvements, we are now investigating options to focus on a new corporate campaign target. At a press conference in Minneapolis today, CTBC activists unveiled a new web site where people are encouraged to "Cast Your Vote" for who you think is the largest E-Waste Promoter and Polluter! (and we promise there will be no hanging chads!!)

While Hewlett Packard and Dell have now endorsed the CTBC's Statement of Principles and are supporting producer responsibility bills in states around the U.S., many other manufacturers of consumer and business electronics have been dragging their feet and are still producing computers, televisions, and other electronics products that have limited life spans, very limited reuse options, and - to top it all of - are highly toxic!

Apple, IBM, Panasonic, Philips, Sharp and Sony continue to manufacture electronics that have limited life spans, limited re-use options, and are laden with toxins! The CTBC asserts that these companies should held accountable for the mountains of e-waste they create. The Campaign has selected 6 of these companies and put them on our new "Watch List" while determining which company will become the next target of the campaign. Each of these companies has been working to shift the costs for collecting and recycling electronic waste onto the backs of consumers or taxpayers.


The Computer Take Back Campaign has raised the concern of taxpayers unfairly shouldering a burden to a number of companies, including Sony, Philips, Apple, and others, calling on them to join with industry leaders like Dell and HP. "Sony is shirking responsibility for its own obsolete products, leaving Minnesota taxpayers with costs that could total $6.2 million between 2006 to 2011, money that could be much better spend on schools or police, " said Tim Rudnicki.

“We want to nip this problem in the bud,” said Robin Schneider, from the Austin-based Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE). “The costs we’ve calculated only include Sony’s share of the electronic waste stream; if we included all manufacturers, the costs to taxpayers would be astronomical,” she continued. “Some manufacturers are starting to step up to the plate and are taking back their own trash from consumers. That’s more efficient, and gives an incentive for better, less polluting design,” finished Schneider.

Maine became the first state to pass producer take back legislation backed by CTBC in 2004 and the Campaign is currently supporting producer take back initiatives in several other states, including measures in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington.

The Computer TakeBack Campaign is protecting America's public health by promoting corporate accountability for electronic waste. CTBC’s goal is to protect the health and well being of electronics users, workers, and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded. The campaign advocates requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products. To accomplish this goal, CTBC is working to establish extended producer responsibility (EPR), or producer take back,as the ideal policy tool to promote sustainable production and consumption of consumer electronics (all products with a circuit board). The Computer TakeBack Campaign is comprised of multiple organizations across the country, including:

Basel Action Network
Clean Production Action
Clean Water Action
GrassRoots Recycling Network
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation

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