Last updated April 12, 2019
Federal agencies in the United States should be given more than 60 million dollars over the course of the next three years in order to help them promote cell phone recycling and the recycling of other electrical items in a bid to prevent them from ending us as landfill. That is the initiative being pushed by Rep John Sarbanes, who cites the fact that millions of tons of electronic items such as old cell phones are being tossed by both companies and everyday households, yet only a few hundred thousand tons are actually ending up being recycled.
Even those items that are recycled are simply discarded, causing an environmental hazard due to the fact that many of the chemicals contained within them end up leeching into groundwater. As well as the environmental factor, Sarbanes says that it is also simply a shocking waste of resources given that many of the components would be capable of being reused, something which would also cut down the need to import the rare metal elements that are needed to in order manufacture new devices.
“There’s a whole national security issue to this, because we don’t want to be in a position where we’re so dependent on foreign interests,” notes Sarbanes, a Democrat from Baltimore County. “We can pull a lot of that back out of this material on the back end.”
The Sarbanes bill would, if passed, allow the EPA to create a grant program for research on the recycling of used cell phones and other electronics.