Proposed Bill in North Carolina Would Give Lawmakers Power to Dump Toxic Electronics in Landfills
A provision in the proposed Regulatory Reform bill would give cities in North Carolina the ability to bypass the state-wide ban on electronic products in landfills. These electronics include older “tube TVs,” a product becoming widely unused in America and are frequently discarded. CRT television sets contain cathode ray tubes and a wide variety of dangerous toxins, while the main problem with disposing newer flat screen TVs is the lithium contained inside.
In 2010, the rapidly growing volume of these older television sets within North Carolina landfills led to the passing of a law that prohibited the disposal of televisions, computers, monitors, printers, scanners, and other electronics. If the proposed Regulatory Reform bill is passed, local governments could possibly undo this law in their district.
Roger Shew, a UNCW professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences believes that these electronics should remain banned, especially tube TVs because they “have more lead as well as a little mercury, cadmium, and beryllium. Obviously, these are things you don’t want in leachate in a landfill.”
“Just because throwing it in the landfill is the easiest thing to do doesn’t make it the right thing to do. At a minimum, they should study this issue more before passing it.” Shew explains. “We need to be able to repurpose, recycle, or better still make it easy to replace these items.”