Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Recycling, Litter & Waste Organizations Disapprove Of Electronics Recycling Legislation

In an unprecedented alliance of solidarity, 5 Pennsylvania recycling, litter, and waste management organizations representing key stakeholder factions affected by the state’s electronics waste recycling law-- the Covered Device Recycling Act-- have united in expressing serious concerns about House Bill 1900 (Ross-R-Chester) and have proposed an alternative.
The Electronics Recycling Association of Pennsylvania; Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful; the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center; the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania; and the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America are in consensus on the steps necessary to revamp and greatly improve access to electronic waste recycling opportunities for Pennsylvania citizens.
"CDRA inadvertently created an environment in which a once growing, Pennsylvania electronics waste recycling industry nearly collapsed," stated Ned Eldridge, ERAP President.  "This forced counties and recyclers across Pennsylvania to reduce or abandon their once productive programs."
According to a recent survey conducted by RMC in conjunction with Penn State, many e-waste collection sites and services are now inadequate to handle all devices as covered by the law and in many counties have ultimately ceased.
"We all concur that House Bill 1900 will not remedy the situation," said Jennifer Summers, PROP Executive Director.  
Shannon Reiter, KPB President agrees, "Strong similarities in member and stakeholder feedback independently experienced by each group reinforces that House Bill 1900, like CDRA, fails to incentivize electronics manufacturers to fulfill their obligations and does not ensure a level playing field for collection programs; scrap recyclers; transporters; and most importantly, Pennsylvania consumers."
The alliance has asked the Pennsylvania Legislature to review and consider their technical concerns, and have offered concepts for a comprehensive sustainable solution.  
Keystone SWANA President Robert Zorbaugh stressed, "The recommendations were authored by industry and policy experts and supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders that includes county and local governments."
The full list of concerns and recommendations are available at the E-Waste PA website developed by KPB to help educate the public about CDRA and related issues.
Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester), prime sponsor of House Bill 1900 and of the original Covered Device Recycling Act, said this in an email in response to the concerns expressed by the groups--
“Today you received a letter circulated by the PA Recycling Markets Center in which they outline a series of concerns with the previous draft of HB 1900.  While they were preparing this communication to you, I have been preparing a new draft that specifically addresses a number of their concerns.
“I expect to receive the draft back from the Legislative Reference Bureau sometime today.  At that time, I will be happy to share it with any Members and of course, I will be sharing it with the stakeholders.  I believe it represents a reasonable compromise and most importantly, opens up the possibility of providing new outlets for our constituents who are eager to see their televisions and other electronic devices recycled.
“I believe it’s critical to pass legislation before we adjourn for the summer to correct the current problems faced by our constituents.  Failure to do so will likely cause us to go into another calendar year without an effective system in place.
“I look forward to working with all of you over the next two weeks to correct this situation.”
A sampling of the recommendations made by the groups include:
-- Clearly defined Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) responsibilities Including a timeline to ensure reasonable and uninterrupted financial continuity to support the operation along with monetary incentives linked with performance criteria to promote efficiency, and cost reduction;
-- Comprehensive service coverage through a state organized system of services which assure that collection sites would operate in each county with or without the need for local government resources and responsibility;
-- Minimum standards for collection sites to help manage and control operational excesses and costs by site operators;
-- Just compensation and fair pricing by establishing a competitive bidding process for the State Default Plan services. The bill should require Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to cover the cost of all covered materials physically collected, transported, and processed under the system throughout the entire year;
-- Allowances for new technologies and options for cathode ray tube glass management, i.e., tube televisions and computer monitors; and
-- Shared consumer responsibility for the program through inclusion of a reasonable point-of-purchase fee dedicated to fund administration, enforcement, education, and research/development but not the cost of recovery and processing which would remain the responsibility of the OEMs.  Retailers should retain a portion of the fee (suggested $ 0.03) as compensation for their costs.
Each organization welcomes feedback and questions concerning electronics waste recycling issues; questions should be directed through the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center by sending email to: rbylone@pennrmc.org or 717-948-6660.
For more background, visit DEP’s Covered Device Recycling Act webpage.
Related Stories:
PA Recycling Markets Center Survey: 6.8 Million Tube TVs, CRTs In PA To Be Recycled

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