Golf Carts Seem to Outweigh E-waste in Legislative Arena
Recently, a giant bluebird and an irreverent raccoon joined our irregular viewing schedule. They are the primary characters on Regular Show, a Cartoon Network animated series that follows Mordecai (the bird) and Rigby (the raccoon) through various humdrum adventures that almost always turn out with them sucked into a time vortex or battling bizarre monsters, such as a 20-foot-tall villain made of fruit pie. After defeating the prodigious pastry in that recent episode, they even cheated Death from getting the Blue Ribbon in a pie contest.
Mordecai and Rigby are amusing because they drive a golf cart everywhere – on city streets, urban highways and off ocean piers while chased by zombies. And they came to mind when I read a recent news article about a new law that went into effect in one state this year that mandated new safety requirements for cities to allow golf carts on public roads. The new law includes rules for brakes, reverse warning devices and horns.
I have nothing against golf carts. I appreciate safety requirements. But to be honest, the thought that legislators spent their valuable time pondering golf cart horns hit me as something almost as ludicrous as the Pie Monster on Regular Show.
More than 40,000 state laws have gone into effect during 2012, many of them supporting worthwhile causes or significant issues. But when you consider how few new bills on e-waste management or end-of-lifecycle device disposal were considered this year, it simply doesn’t make a lot of sense that golf cart laws can easily putter into the legislative spotlight.
Many states have not duly considered the serious nature of e-waste. It has become the fastest-growing category of municipal waste in the U.S., and more than 80% of that e-waste is improperly disposed.
Rather than refurbishing and recycling electronics, millions of tons of e-waste are landfilled, exported or incinerated. Electronics recycling does not usually take place in developing countries where primitive disassembly and disposal processes expose impoverished people, many of them children, to potentially toxic levels of lead, mercury, cadmium and other chemicals.
In this heavy-handed season of politics, e-waste is one important global issue that is not partisan. Some states have passed disposal bans; others approved mandates on e-waste management. Some have done both. All states need to have at least some legislated e-waste disposal programs to keep end-of-lifecycle devices out of landfills and flowing into recycling facilities.
If e-waste was properly legislated, lawmakers across the country would be able to focus on other important issues.
Like golf cart horns.