There is a huge amount of electrical safety regulation here in New Zealand and this sharply contrasts with the total lack of environmental regulations for the same equipment.
Any electrical products used in New Zealand need to pass a set of compliance tests before they are allowed to be sold. Once in use, and depending on where and how they are used, electrical products require electrical safety testing as often as every three months. When they are discarded or scrapped they have to be prevented from being able to be plugged into the mains electricity supply.
Contrast this with the fact that even though some electrical products contain hazardous substances such as mercury, cadmium, and lead, there are absolutely no regulations governing the disposal of these products. Also, it seems everything conspires against the repair, refurbishment, and recycling of electrical products. I have discussed the decline in the repair industry in this submission, I have already blogged about being unable to obtain stock for refurbishment, and I am finding that recycling e-waste correctly is almost impossible to do.
All of this is part of the intergenerational inequality that our society has created. We are placing a high value on our own lives but it means that if future generations want to enjoy the state of the environment that we currently have then they will have to clean up the mess that we are creating.