Media Center – Press Coverage
September 26th 2008
By MELISSA LAFSKY
Discover Magazine Questions the Presidential Candidates
Discover contributor Thomas Kostigen put five questions to the Presidential candidates. Here is the specific e-waste question and the candidates’ answers.
Discover Magazine’s Question: While the number of landfills in the United States has shrunk over the past 20 years from 8,000 to 1,700, we now create twice as much waste. Do you have any plans to create incentives for manufacturers to develop environmentally friendly products? And how should we deal with the growth of hazardous consumer waste, including electronics and compact fluorescent light bulbs? Barack Obama
Waste -household and hazardous- represents an ongoing challenge to the United States . I believe we need incentives to minimize waste production and promote much more recycling. We can do this by more aggressively using the federal laws that regulate waste disposal and product manufacture so that we use fewer toxic chemicals, generate less manufacturing waste, and reduce packaging materials. We can also challenge manufacturers of computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to more effectively take back these products when they are discarded so that their components can be reused rather than shipped to landfills.
I am proud of my long-standing commitment to conserving America’s natural resources and promoting environmental stewardship. I know we face immense environmental challenges that will impact the quality of life we leave our children and future generations. Essential to this commitment is promoting an ethos of conservation across our nation. I will lead by example and will make greening the federal government a priority of my administration. The federal government is the largest electricity consumer on earth and occupies 3.3 billion square feet of space worldwide. It provides an enormous opportunity to lead by example. By applying a higher efficiency standard to new buildings leased or purchased or retrofitting existing buildings, we can save taxpayers money in energy costs and move the construction market in the direction of green technology to reduce waste and consumption.