Government Should Get Out of the Recycling Business

If the growing trend is for government to impose its own set of rules on how manufacturers should build and take apart electronics, producers and recyclers will be forced to abandon what works for them and follow a new set of rules. A burgeoning private marketplace of creative ideas and innovations, where producers compete to provide the best collection service at the lowest possible cost to the customer, will be replaced by a government bureaucracy that has no particular incentive—or ability—to keep costs down. . . .

Government—at the state and federal levels—should get out of the recycling business altogether. Government fees, mandates, and regulations only create barriers to private efforts to find successful ways to recycle and reuse electronics. Much of the waste can and is being handled by manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, and nonprofits, but these efforts will only succeed and grow if government gets out of the way. The remaining amount of waste can and should be placed in landfills designed, built, and regulated to handle hazardous waste far more toxic than that which is found in e-waste.

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