The Business Council supports the intent of this bill – to promote the proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats – however we disagree with key components of S.4345-B, and oppose its approval.
We have a couple of significant concerns with this proposal:
- Most significantly, this bill sets unrealistic collection goals that manufacturers will find nearly impossible to meet. The bill mandates that manufacturers collect a minimum of 7,500 mercury thermostats in 2013, jumps to 22,500 in year 2014, and then gives DEC complete discretion to set the collection standard in 2015 and beyond.
- We are not opposed to establishing performance measures and aggressive goals, but we fear manufacturers are being required to achieve the unachievable by these standards. In some instances manufacturers have doubled collections in as little as one year after the passage of thermostat legislation, but requiring a 481% increase over current levels is simply not feasible.
Moreover, the bill grants DEC too much latitude in establishing collections goals in 2015 and beyond. Based upon experiences in other states, it is critical the outcome of the goal setting processes is realistic and attainable.
Another concern with the bill is that it has unreasonable remedies for failure to meet prescriptive goals established by the statute and DEC. The remedies afforded DEC are too broad, and subject manufacturers to penalties even if they fully comply with the statute.
Thermostat manufacturers have been proactive in promoting the collection and proper management of mercury-containing thermostats, and have established the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (www.thermostat-recycle.org/) that operates a nationwide reverse distribution system for their products. Through TRC, manufacturers have already voluntarily expanded the program and increased collections in New York. We believe that thermostat recycling programs can be successful, if there are reasonably shared responsibilities among manufacturers, distributors and contractors.
With a few changes we believe we can create a more efficient and effective thermostat management program than that proposed in S.4345-B. Therefore we oppose its approval.