Texas electronics waste management: A policy analysis for the 21st century

Sanjay Stefan Malhotra, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Electronic waste is a fairly new and largely unknown phenomenon. Accordingly, governments have only recently acknowledged electronic waste as a threat to the environment and public health. In attempting to mitigate the hazards associated with this rapidly growing toxic waste stream, governments at all levels have started to implement e-waste management programs. The legislation enacted to create these programs is based on extended producer responsibility or EPR policy. EPR shifts the burden of final disposal of e-waste from the consumer or municipal solid waste system to the manufacturer of electronic equipment. Applying an EPR policy is intended to send signals up the production chain to the manufacturer. The desired outcome is to change the methods of production in order to reduce production outputs/inputs with the ultimate goal of changing product design. This thesis performs a policy analysis of the current e-waste policies at the federal and state level of government, focusing specifically on Texas e-waste policies. The Texas e-waste law known, as HB 2714 or the Texas Computer TakeBack Law, requires manufacturers to provide individual consumers with a free and convenient method for returning their used computers to manufacturers. The law is based on individual producer responsibility and shared responsibility among consumer, retailers, recyclers, and the TCEQ. Using a set of evaluation criteria created by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Texas e-waste law was examined to determine its effectiveness at reducing the threat of e-waste in Texas. Based on the outcomes of the analysis certain recommendations were made for the legislature to incorporate into HB 2714. The results of the policy analysis show that HB 2714 is a poorly constructed law and does not provide the desired results seen in other states with EPR policies. The TakeBack Law does little to change the collection methods of manufacturers and even less to change their production habits. If the e-waste problem is to be taken seriously, HB 2714 must be amended to reflect the proposed changes in this thesis.

Subject Area

Environmental management|Public health

Recommended Citation

Malhotra, Sanjay Stefan, "Texas electronics waste management: A policy analysis for the 21st century" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497690.