The e-waste debate – Red State vs. Blue State

The closing of the democratic and republican national conventions these last weeks mark the beginning of the final push of this presidential election season. More than likely, the primary election issues that will be on everyone’s mind are the economy, employment, the debt, and healthcare.  These topics as well as other important issues will be heavily debated in the coming weeks. During these debates, the twenty-four hour news cycle will remind us of the red state vs. blue state position as well as the all-important “toss-up” states and their reaction to the candidates’ remarks on these important issues. Piggy-backing on this theme, I thought it would be interesting to compare the red, blue, and toss-up state positioning to the e-waste debate and current e-waste regulations. Although what we found is not earth-shattering or inconsistent to our intuition on how e-waste regulation aligns with the red/blue state mapping, it does represent a thematic approach to how these states think about and act on broader issues with similar themes.

Before we dive into the data, here are a couple of caveats. This information should not be taken to suggest any particular political statement or alignment. It should also not be thought of as a statistical prognostication of how any state will vote their electoral or “swing” their votes. What this information presents is a comparison of current e-waste regulations and policies, by state, compared to the blue, red, and toss-up state mapping as indicated by CNN (  I would also like to give credit to my summer intern, Robert Leighton, who did all the heavy lifting on this in terms of research and data comparison.

Below you will find the blue, red, and toss up state alignment as indicated by CNN (

20 Red

15 Blue

15 (Toss-up)


Now let’s look at the Red/Blue state configuration in terms of e-waste regulation.

Total number of States with e-waste laws and/or regulations: 28


  •  6 out of 28 states with e-waste laws/regulations are Republican
  • Chances of being a Republican state and having an e-waste law is 12% (Calculated through conditional probability)


  • 13 out of 28 states with e-waste laws/regulations are
  • Chances of being a Democratic state and having an e-waste law is 28% (Calculated through conditional probability)

Total number of States with no current e-waste laws or regulations: 22


  • 14 states in total
  • Of the 14, only 1 has a bill currently being proposed (Nebraska)
  • Of 20 Republican states, 70% have no e-waste laws or regulations


  • 1 state in total (Delaware)
  • Less than 7% (6.67%) of 15 Democratic states have no e-waste laws or regulations


  • Strong correlation between having an e-waste law and being a Democratic (blue) state
  • 3 states with no current rule or regulation have e-waste bills currently being discussed
  • 2 Toss-up States (Colorado and Ohio)
  • 1 Republican State (Nebraska)
  • Toss-up states split between having e-waste laws or not (8 out of 15 have at least one)

As you may have guessed, if you live in a so-called ‘Blue” state, you tend to favor protective regulation such as e-waste laws; if you live in a “Red” state, not so much. And if you live in a “toss-up” state, well… it’s a toss-up.