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Waste Problems

1. a. Summarize a specific municipal solid waste problem in your hometown (Northern California) or one that has recently been reported in the media. Use the specific stages of the waste stream in your discussion.

b. What policies have been proposed or implemented to address the problem your describe? Analyze these policies from an economic perspective.

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One solid waste problem that has occurred in Northern California (and throughout the world) relates to e-waste. E-waste accounts for 3-5 percent of urban solid waste stream in industrialized world and is a growing problem. The cost of recycling domestically has caused many recycling plants to ship e-waste overseas. This has disastrous environmental consequences, as these nations do not have strict environmental regulations or the technology to handle e-waste. Ideally all components would be recycled locally, which would also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by transporting them.

State and Federal government officials should take the lead in solving this problem. Because many states do not require e-waste to handled as hazardous waste, mercury, lead, cadmium, and bromine go into municipal landfills. Local governments anticipate that they may have to huge cleanup costs in the future, but cannot act without the state's backing. California was the first state to enact such legislation, followed by Maryland, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. California's electronic waste recovery and recycling program is modeled after the European Economic Union's Product Stewardship Initiative. It provides ...

Solution Summary

Policies to correct municipal waste problems; e-waste disposal laws