Electronics are proposed for Alaska’s first stewardship program. These products contain hazardous chemicals, such as lead, cadmium, and flame retardants that, if not managed properly, can cause substantial and permanent harm to human health and the environment. They are widely used by individuals, businesses, and even our schools; and the volume of spent electronics generated each year is growing, in part due to the short-life design of such products, and to their increasing integration into nearly every facet of daily life.
There are few recycling opportunities for electronics in Alaska because there are no processing facilities located here. While urban residents have some opportunities for electronic drop-off, their cost and inconvenience can dissuade many families from using them. And in our remote communities, backhauling can be cost-prohibitive. With rural landfills unlined, these communities face higher health and environment costs.
Without Product Stewardship, all Alaskans pay in the end. Not only can the water that sustains our fisheries be polluted, our municipal governments must currently bear the cost of disposal at a time of tightened local and state budgets. Taxes and budget cuts must cover this cost, and our children inherit contaminated land.