EPA Prioritizes E-Waste Problem

EPA chief names e-waste an international priority.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson names “cleaning up e-waste” one of the agency’s top six international priorities moving forward. The memo comes at the heels of the EPA agreeing with suggestions from a U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) report, which called on the agency to improve its own electronics recycling programs, as well as working on assisting the ratification of the Basel Convention.

While the language Jackson uses to describe EPA’s commitment to work on e-scrap management is vague, it is nonetheless, telling that it is listed among the agencies top international goals:

“Cleaning Up E-Waste: The electronics that provide us with convenience often end up discarded in developing countries where improper disposal can threaten local people and the environment. EPA recognizes this urgent concern and will work with international partners to address the issues of e-waste. In the near-term, EPA will focus on ways to improve the design, production, handling, reuse, recycling, exporting, and disposal of electronics.”

The memo, released while Jackson was in Guanajuato, Mexico attending a meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, seems to be a further signal that the agency is taking a more hands-on approach regarding e-waste, with hints that further action by the agency on e-waste may be forthcoming.

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