The Business Council opposes this bill that would mandate manufacturers of certain electronic equipment to develop a plan and become responsible for its collection, handling and recycling. The Business Council believes this legislation is unworkable for several reasons, and recommends against its adoption.
- The bill requires take-back programs to serve commercial, industrial and municipal entities in addition to individual consumers. Other E-waste proposals only cover individuals. Business users already have ample opportunities to collect and recycle their electronic equipment. Many manufacturers and electronic waste recyclers offer recycling services to commercial entities. It is not necessary to force manufacturers to eliminate these programs and adopt a state mandated program that must be offered for free. Any new manufacturer take-back program should only cover individual consumers.
- This legislation broadens the definition of “covered electronic equipment” to include printers, music and video equipment, and others. Any state program should initially cover only those products that are commonly included in product take-back programs based on environmental concerns, including televisions, monitors and computers.
- The proposed definition of “manufacturer” could result in multiple “manufacturers” for a single piece of equipment. The legislation should clarify that manufacturer responsibilities may be performed by any entity meeting the definition of manufacturer but need not require each entity to bare responsibility for each covered electronic device.
- It is unclear how state sales data will be derived, other than by prorating national sales by state population, or some similar means. Manufacturers cannot identify the location of retail sales of products sold through distributors or retailers.
- It is unclear how a share of “orphan wastes” will be derived, or how will the state know the volume of “orphan wastes” to which the percentage will be applied.
- We object to the prohibition on charges to consumers for recycling; among other reasons, this will impose costs on the manufacturers to products already sold, eliminating the ability to include this cost in the pricing of equipment.
- It is inappropriate to impose the obligation – and liability – on the manufacturer for destroying data included on hard drives. This should be the responsibility of the consumer who owned the equipment prior to disposal.
- A state-specific labeling on covered devices is unreasonable. Having different labeling standards from state to state is burdensome and unnecessary. Consumer information can be provided at point of sale.
- Finally, the prohibition on in-state disposal of “any component” of covered electronics is unworkable. While much of this material is recyclable, 100% may not be. There needs to be the ability to dispose of non-recyclable residuals.
In summary, The Business Council recognizes that there is a growing volume of electronic equipment being disposed of by individuals, businesses and institutions, and we support efforts to promote the recycling of this material. However, we do not believe that the provisions of A.7571/S.2512 are necessary for the development of an effective and safe electronics recycling industry.
For these reasons, The Business Council respectfully recommends against adoption of A.7571/S.2512.