January 8, 2002

See background info
Contacts: David Wood
GRRN Program Director
(608) 270-0940
(David Wood)

Today's Innovations Are Tomorrow's
High-Tech Trash
CES showcases the new, but what are
consumers supposed to do with the old?

Las Vegas, NV - America' sea of high-tech trash swelled today as millions of consumer electronics devices were made obsolete by innovations unveiled at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"Discarded electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing and most highly toxic waste streams in the industrialized world," says David Wood, Program Director of the GrassRoots Recycling Network ("GRRN") and organizing director of the national Computer TakeBack Campaign. "The rapid pace of product development in consumer electronics has a dark side, which is rapid obsolescence and a failure on the part of industry to take responsibility for goods at the end of their useful lives," continues Wood, who is at CES distributing educational materials and speaking with industry reps.

Personal computers, TVs, and other consumer electronic devices contain materials which are harmful to the environment, including lead, mercury, cadmium, PVC plastics and dioxin-like flame retardants used to treat plastic casings. When consumer electronics are not properly disposed these materials may be released into the environment, posing threats to human health.

"The Computer TakeBack Campaign is building pressure on the consumer electronics industry to take responsibility for the full life cycle of their products, including phase out of hazardous materials, product take back and end-of-life management," says Wood. "The industry is best positioned to correct the problems created by their design and marketing strategies."

"At present, local governments and taxpayers shoulder almost the entire burden of managing electronic discards," says Ted Smith, Executive Director of Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and coordinator of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. "Public policy and corporate practice must embrace extended producer responsibility ("EPR"), through which manufacturers and brand owners bear full responsibility. Japan and countries in Europe are tackling their e-waste problems with EPR; the U.S. must act to end the global double standard."

"CES showcases what's new for consumers; our national campaign will showcase what's next," says Wood.

The Campaign involves dozens of organizations and local governments across the country. Read the campaign's platform at


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