Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rep. Ross Introduces Potential Fixes To Electronics Waste Recycling Law

Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) Wednesday announced the introduction of his suggestions for fixing Pennsylvania electronics waste recycling law in House Bill 1900 (text available here).
The legislation would keep the complicated system now in place for electronics recycling that resulted in the collapse of the e-waste program and graft on top of it new “Supplementary Program” designed to collect the “surplus” waste not collected by the original program.
The Supplementary Program requires the Department of Environmental Protection to estimate the number of pounds of e-waste not otherwise collected by the regular program.  For the 2017 collection year that amount is set at 30 million pounds.
Any county wishing to participate in the supplementary program is required to identify three e-waste collection sites.
DEP would then put out an invitation to bid for recycling the “surplus” e-waste in the Supplementary Program covering multiple counties or regions.   The bids require electronics manufacturers to pay the entire cost of transportation and recycling by a successful bidder, something the regular program does not require and would not be required to do under the regular e-waste recycling program.
The cost of the Supplementary Program would be apportioned to the manufacturers on the same market share basis currently being used in the original program.
The bill would also increase electronics manufacturers registration fees from $5,000 to $10,000 under the original program.
The legislation would also allow recyclers to operate e-waste recycling programs outside the original and supplementary programs as long as the amount of material collected to reported separately and not counted toward a manufacturers’ responsibility.  These programs could collect additional fees on consumers for recycling.
Electronics manufacturers would also have to submit a plan, under the original program, to collect e-waste in each of DEP’s six regions along with a specific plans to manage CRT televisions and monitors which providers for their recycling or smelting within one year of collection.
DEP said at a March hearing, there are 17 million pounds of CRTs warehoused in Erie alone awaiting recycling.
Rep. Ross said the add-on program would provide an “opportunity for private contractors to bid on collecting, transporting and recycling the amount of electronic waste in each county that is not currently being accounted for by the existing system.”
At a Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee hearing in March on the collapse of the e-waste recycling program, advocates for changing the electronics waste recycling laws advocated a simple system of putting all e-waste recycling out for bid and requiring manufacturers to pay their share of the costs of recycling of any material collected.
Nearly everyone at the hearing said the current e-waste program just doesn’t work.
Two-thirds of Pennsylvania is now without free and convenient recycling options for TVs and electronics waste.
Keep PA Beautiful has reported a significant increase in the illegal dumping of TVs and electronics over the last year.
A copy of Rep. Ross’ bill is available online
A new Electronics Waste website hosted by Keep PA Beautiful provides consumers with information on where they can recycle e-waste now and why it is harmful to illegally dump electronics waste.

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