Recycling is good for you ? it?s official. Well, Europe is thinking about it anyway. While no one in government will be able to give you an accurate figure for the tons of IT waste dumped in landfill sites every year, someone in Brussels has done a quick calculation and reacted in the way they always do after a session on a spreadsheet ? legislation. More laws.
The European Commission is about to unveil draconian new legislation to force manufacturers and dealers to introduce recycling schemes for all obsolete hardware. Now, I cannot pretend to be completely green, but I try to do my bit. However, there seems to be a huge difference between persuading users to get rid of their equipment, and forcing resellers to keep track of every PC or printer sold and ensuring that it doesn?t end up in the local river. How will small dealers keep track of every piece of equipment, and what happens if it is sold on? How will government police this legislation? Green Bobbies on the IT beat?
Once again laws are being formulated that will cost large firms lots more money, but will probably put many more small firms out of business. It will also add another burden to users, who will pay higher prices for the pleasure of knowing that their PC will be ripped apart and disposed of in a green manner.
Not that we should be opposed to this, but we should be able to legislate within the needs of our own country and ensure we do not harm our industry ? it looks as if the EC legislation will adopt the most stringent legislation based on the German closed cycle model. This will oblige all manufacturers and importers of IT and telecoms equipment to pay for the recycling and safe disposal of all equipment sold. In Holland, the government is considering the same legislation, and Sweden is discussing legislation to ban the disposal of computers in landfill sites.
There are certain problems with this. What happens when an OEM goes bust? The reseller will have to pick up the pieces. It would only need another recession to pull down many smaller dealers alongside any bigger OEMs that go down. How can you possibly plan for that? And is it fair to rectify our poor waste management infrastructure by shifting the problem to manufacturers? Is this not just another case of government palming its responsibilities off on to industry? Or am I just not green enough?
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