The argument over whether the electronic devices are more environmentally friendly than print media has always been overshadowed by the increasing mountain of electronic waste that is making its way into the municipal waste stream.Additionally, electronic devices, at the end of their life, are being exported to third world countries often under licences which state they are fit for re-use. In reality, these items are disposed of in very unsustainable ways.
See a fascinating video on the disposal of electronic waste here: http://www.twosides.info/the-digital-dump
A report on the European Parliament legislation, kindly reproduced from www.euractiv.com follows.
The European Parliament approved legislation to strengthen the recovery of computers and other electronic and electrical waste while tightening exports of used goods to developing countries, ending months of hard-fought negotiations. MEPs adopted the revamped Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment(WEEE) Directive after months of pitched battles over how ambitious the binding law would be.
“We have reached an agreement and it has not been easy,” German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz (European People's Party), the parliamentary rapporteur, said before the vote.
The legislation obliges EU countries to collect up to 85% of junked refrigerators, mobile phones, computers and other electronic products by 2019 for recycling, replacing a current system based on weight. The Commission had recommended a 65% target. Only about one-third of electronic waste is recycled today, and half is exported, according to the Parliament.