- The Howard County Recycling District Advisory Board of Indiana has approved a plan to sue Michigan-based Great Lakes Electronics for alleged breach of contract, as reported by the Kokomo Perspective.
- The company has disposed of the county's e-waste for years and at one time even paid them to do so. Citing the market's financial challenges, Great Lakes Electronics recently tried to start charging the county and eventually stopped service entirely.
- Howard County has temporarily hired another company for e-waste collection and is seeking to recoup this cost along with legal fees in the suit.
County officials say they recognize the financial pressures of the electronics market, but never formally agreed to new contract terms and were not informed of any plans to stop collection service. Great Lakes Electronics has reportedly considered suing the county as well, though that plan seems to have been preempted for the time being.
This is the latest in a series of signs that the current e-waste system isn't working for many local governments. North Carolina has considered repealing its e-waste law, multiple Illinois counties have shut down their programs and the same thing has happened in other parts of the country as well. Some states have stuck with their laws and others, such as New York, have chosen to subsidize the system with grants.
Many have called for some type of uniform federal regulations, but the only active bill in Congress with any connection to this issue is about limiting e-waste exports for security reasons. Few disagree with the need to divert this material for proper disposal, but until the market is more favorable the practice will continue to put a strain on local governments and recyclers.