Today one of the two House landfill diversion bills (HB648 and HB1436) and will be heard in the House Environmental Regulation Committee, both would require more regulation and a collections program for large retailers to reduce the amount of e-waste generated in the waste stream.

A February 2013 study by the Coalition of American Electronics Recyclers (CAER) found that electronics recyclers can create 1 job for every 173,000 pounds of e-waste. A bill to reduce the amount of e-waste in the main waste stream will result in a 73% increase in e-waste collections (more than 31.5 million pounds per year in Texas) and create as many as 900 hundred new Texas jobs.

In order to accomplish these goals, all computer equipment under this section is to be recycled, reused, or disposed of in a manner that complies with the House regulations. The provisions of the bill require e-waste to be diverted from landfills and incinerators and be properly disposed of by retails adhering by electronics recycling policies.

A landfills diversion requirement is a crucial step in creating the approximated 900 jobs. These provisions create significant economic opportunities while reducing the toxicity e-waste generates in the waste stream and protecting precious resources.

In 2012, Texas collected 43.8 million pounds of e-waste. If the collections programs and diversion requirements by large retails were in affect, it would keep an additional 31 million pounds of e-waste—and 3.4 million pounds of lead— out of Texas landfills.

The Bottom Line

Electronics recycling offers huge opportunities for diminishing toxicity in the waste stream caused by e-waste, preserving precious resources and creations of jobs. A diversion requirement is absolutely essential for making these opportunities a reality for Texas businesses and is vital for the long-range health of our water supplies. Texas can make real progress on this important issue by enacting a diversion requirement for computers, monitors and televisions this year.