The Business Council opposes this bill that would mandate manufacturers to become responsible for the collection, handling and recycling of electronics waste. The Business Council has identified a number of problems with this legislation, and recommends against its adoption.
- The bill requires take-back programs to serve commercial, industrial and municipal entities in addition to individual consumers at no cost. We object to the prohibition on charges to all 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. Other E-waste proposals allow manufacturers to assess a collection fee on consumers that have full-time employees.
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 take-back program should allow manufacturers to charge for recycling services provided to consumers having full-time employees.
- This legislation broadens the scope of “covered electronic equipment” by expanding the definition of “computer” to include computer central processing units and monitors. These are the very computer systems that manufacturers and businesses already have established recycling arrangements. Any state program should cover only those consumer products that are commonly included in product take-back programs based on environmental concerns, including desktop and laptop computers, televisions and monitors.
- This bill should allow manufacturers to generate credits for collection of electronic waste in excess of its annual obligation in 2012 rather than 2013. There is no reason to delay the credits, particularly since the recycling surcharges for failure to meet the manufacturer's acceptance standard take effect in 2012.
- This legislation would be strengthened with the addition of a provision to include credits for electronics waste recycling collection in rural areas, as has been done in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. This will give further incentive for manufacturers to provide services in areas of the state that might otherwise be underserved.
- Finally, the provision allowing DEC to “establish additional requirements to ensure convenient collection from consumers” should be deleted from this bill. Any guidelines for collection of equipment should be listed in the bill. DEC should not have the authority to require manufacturers to take on further collection responsibilities not stated in the law. A similar provision in the New York City law has caused huge problems with their take-back program.
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.9709-B adequately develop an effective and safe electronics recycling industry.
For these reasons, The Business Council respectfully recommends against adoption of A.9709-B.