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  Growing pile of tech waste prompts push for cleanup
Growing pile of tech waste prompts push for cleanup

By Julia Hood

PR Week, News Update, March 4, 2002

(Sacramento, CA) Campaigners in California are gearing up for a PR and legislative battle over tech-industry waste.

A bill has been proposed by State Senator Gloria Romero (D-CA) that would require computer and other electronics manufacturers to set up recycling programs – or pay fines to the state.

Californians Against Waste (CAW) is one group that has been working to promote the issues connected to waste from electronics equipment.

According to its research materials, more than 6,000 computers become obsolete in California each day; in 1997, 3.2 million tons of electronics waste ended up in landfills. One critical issue is the content of potentially dangerous concentrations of lead found in computer and television screens.

CAW retains two-person PR firm Lincoln Crow of Sacramento for help with the project. Under Lincoln Crow’s guidance, last week the group produced its first VNR to coincide with a press conference on the proposed legislation.

“Our goal is to bring attention to the local-government aspect of this program, which has to subsidize the collection of obsolete objects,” explained Mark Murray, CAW’s executive director. “We are drawing attention to the financial impact this is having on local governments.”

Michael Picker, founder of Lincoln Crow, said the firm has also been working with a loose national coalition trying to help develop campaign plans on both the federal and state levels.

On the other side of the debate, the American Electronics Association (AEA) opposes legislative solutions to the waste problems.

“We are working to encourage participation of all stakeholders to design a solution in this area, including manufacturers, retailers, waste managers, and elected officials,” said Mark Albertson, SVP of the AEA in the Western region.

The AEA has recently been holding meetings with state lawmakers, and it plans to roll out a consensus position for its members in the next few weeks.

 

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