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We produce a lot of electronic waste — from old computers and smartphones to TV monitors and printers.

China, the United States and India are the top producers of electronic waste and Minnesotans contribute mightily, with more than 266 million pounds of electronic waste every year.

As we celebrated Earth Day this week, it's a good time to consider ways we can reuse and recycle electronics.

According to a study last year, only about 24% of Minnesota electronics waste gets captured for recycling.

It's estimated that there is $2.8 billion worth of metals in Minnesota's electronic waste stream every year.

A bill being debated at the Minnesota Capitol would boost recycling and help keep e-waste from going to landfills. The bill would update the state's current electronics waste law, which was passed back in 2007. That bill focused mostly on televisions and computers.

The proposed bill would cover 100% of electronic waste and make recycling electronics free for all Minnesotans. To pay for the program, it would add a 3.2% retail fee on most electronics when they are sold. Cellphones would have a flat 90-cent fee. While those options make sense as user fees, other reasonable options should also be considered.

That would prevent the problem of Minnesotans taking electronics to recycling sites and then finding out they have to pay a fee to have them accepted for recycling. Too often people then simply decide to throw the old electronics in the trash rather than paying the fee.

Electronics make up 2% of the total material going into landfills. There are electronics recyclers in the state that remove lots of valuable metals from devices and they can handle all the electronic waste in the state.

That's better than throwing electronics in landfills or incinerators where they send toxic materials into the air or possibly groundwater.

The proposed legislation makes sense. Properly caring for electronics when they're at the end of their life costs money. Discarding them improperly causes pollution to the air and water.

Paying a small tax or using other reasonable funding options when purchasing electronics to ensure we can recycle them when they are no longer usable is good legislation.

Charging people to throw away electronic waste can discourage them from properly disposing of it.