RENewsletter | July 11, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[7/04/2010 – 7/11/2010]


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Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Are regulations the best way to stop e-waste?”


Starting April 1, 2011, we will be less likely to see old TVs and other E-waste thrown out to the curb where they end up in landfills.  There’s a new law in town: Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation


“Beginning April 1, 2011, manufacturers of covered electronic equipment [those covered by the law] will be required to accept the following: computers, televisions (as well as cathode ray tubes), small scale servers, computer peripherals (monitors, electronic keyboards, electronic mice or similar pointing devices, facsimile machines, document scanners, printers), small electronic equipment (VCRs, digital video recorders, portable digital music players, DVD players, digital converter boxes, cable or satellite receivers, electronic or video game consoles)”


Of course this is not the full gambit of spent electronic devices ending up in our environment, causing health hazards to people and wildlife, but it’s a start.  The gist of the bill is best described:


“New York now joins 22 other states in mandating that manufacturers bear the responsibility for taking back their toxin-containing used electronics from consumers for responsible recycling.  This approach not only gets these dangerous products out of our landfills and incinerators where they can contaminate water and air, it also removes the burden of handling this fastest-growing part of the waste stream from municipalities and taxpayers.  Equally importantly, by shifting the costs of end-of-life waste management to the manufacturers, it encourages them to design products in the first instance that are easier - and hence cheaper - to recycle in the first place. Ultimately, this should result in products that have fewer toxic components, and more reusable and recyclable components, requiring less use of virgin materials.” NYS Passes Cutting Edge E-Waste Law | Kate Sinding's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC


This law “will ensure that every New Yorker will have the opportunity to recycle their electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner.”


Why more regulations for recycling? Most companies will not even consider developing their electronics in such a way that they can be properly dismantled and reused.   Unfortunately, it takes laws to get most companies (and people) and to act sustainably.


This trip we’ve been on, where we can produce anything we want and when we are done with it just throw it anywhere we want, is coming to an end.  It’s not because a bunch of greenies got smart and got some good lawyers.  It’s because this kind of hazardous waste that is making people sick, and poisoning our environment is becoming intolerable. 


Back in the 1800’s in Saratoga Springs, NY (near where I grew up), hotels were populated with elegant spittoons because expectorating (spitting wads of chewing tobacco ((and whatever)) in crowded public areas) was cool.  Now, elegantly designed or not, spittoons are an artifact of the past—they’re disgusting and a public health problem.   Future generations too will see all of the hazardous junk we presently toss into the ground as hopelessly irresponsible. 


The up-side of all these necessary regulations, which incidentally creates a level playing field for companies to conduct business, will be new industries making use of these electronic discards.  As the rules get tighter and the public becomes more educated on recycling, companies will design electronics with their eventual disuse in mind.   Maybe someday we won’t need regulations to live sustainably, but for now, we quite obviously do.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.


July 2010



August 2010



September 2010





ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]