January 11, 2003

See background info

Contacts: Ted Smith - STVC

David Wood -GRRN

Computer TakeBack Campaign slams Bush EPA's plan to protect Dell, electronics manufacturers

Industry enlists Bush EPA to deflect scrutiny of e-waste problem with Plug In To Recycling Program

Madison, WI - In his speech to the 2003 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CES, boasted that Michael Dell has "the ear of the President." Not only does Dell have the Administration's ear, but his industry can now thank the Bush EPA for trying to deflect attention away from toxic computer waste.

While the EPA's new Plug into Recycling program acknowledges some of the serious challenges of the global e-waste problem, the plan fails to propose any actual solutions. EPA materials state "We intend to work towards this goal" of "shared responsibility" with regard to the product stewardship of electronics. The Bush Administration plan, however, fails to hold the industry accountable for the problems they have created.

"This is an EPA-backed industry PR stunt, but we need real solutions," said David Wood, Organizing Director of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. "There are already models that work. The European Union and, to a lesser extent, Japan have adopted measures under which electronics manufacturers bear the financial responsibility of safely recycling their products."

Companies, such as Dell, offer European consumers a free, convenient service to recycle consumer electronics. Although electronics manufacturers comply with these cleaner standards in Europe, environmentally responsible reform in the U.S. hasn't been as "Easy as Dell."

The EPA's message is "there is a lot of e-waste out there and it may be bad for the environment. Come on America, get this old stuff out of your house." Their literature goes on to emphasize that "communities care."

"Because communities care, their taxpayers are footing the bill while electronics manufacturers shirk their responsibility of handling toxic electronics waste," commented Ted Smith, Coordinator of the Computer TakeBack Campaign. "As a result of the current EPA's failure to resist industry pressures, taxpayers pick up the tab for handling toxic computer waste."

The Computer TakeBack Campaign is a national network of consumer, labor and environmental organizations.


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