Lawmakers may address recycling electronics
Environmental protection officials say Kentucky should impose a ban on junk electronics -- such as computer monitors or old cell phones -- that eventually could lead to toxic hazards in landfills throughout the state.
Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection officials suggested the idea to state lawmakers last week. Materials contained in certain electronics, such as mercury and lead, could pose environmental threats that need stricter regulation by the state, officials said.
"Right now if you're a homeowner, you can set any kind of a TV, computer monitor outside and theoretically the garbage pickup can take it to the landfill without any restrictions whatsoever," said Timothy Hubbard, assistant director for the state's environmental protection department. "This would put a ban on landfills from receiving that material directly."
Kentucky lawmakers may consider legislation to deal with scrap electronics when the General Assembly session starts in January. Similar legislation has stalled in previous sessions, including one measure earlier this year that never made it up for a vote by the full Senate.
Nevertheless, lawmakers are likely to consider it again, said state Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence.
It's unknown exactly how much electronic scrap is scattered around Kentucky, Hubbard said. But based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, Kentucky may have as much as 100,000 tons of electronic materials available for disposal, Hubbard said.