The House Science and Technology Committee meets Wednesday February 12 in search of innovative ways to deal with electronic waste. Experts testifying to the Committee include Prof. Valerie Thomas, a Georgia Tech professor with joint appointments in the School of Industrial and System Engineering and the School of Public Policy.
Lawmakers are currently crafting legislation that would support research into better recycling technologies and the use of more environmentally sensitive materials, according to a committee staff member. The problem of disposing discarded electronics such as computers and televisions has been growing as new products rapidly come on the market and consumers discard old models. Those discards end up in the waste stream, where chemicals and other toxic materials break down. According to U.S. EPA, there were 1.9 million to 2.2 million tons of used or unwanted electronics in 2005, of which 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled. EPA estimates electronic waste is growing two to three times faster than any other waste stream. The hearing is Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. in 2318 Rayburn.