E-scrap legislative progress continued in 2012

E-scrap legislative progress continued in 2012

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Legislatures across the country continued to focus on electronic scrap this past year, introducing approximately 40 e-scrap bills accounting for 22 percent of all recycling and waste management legislation introduced in 2012.

In Maryland, Governor Martin O'Malley signed two e-scrap bills into law — House Bill 448 and House Bill 879. HB 448 directs state procurement offices to purchase IT assets listed on the EPEAT registry, or alternatively, meet specified standards when purchasing new electronic products. HB 879, meanwhile, alters registration requirements for manufacturers under Maryland's e-scrap recycling program. Specifically, the bill adjusts the fees to be paid to the state Department of the Environment and requires new data security and data destruction reporting requirements for any manufacturer that has a take-back program.

With the signing of Senate Bill 2822, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie established the Hawaii Electronic Device Recycling Task Force. The 26-member body will include officials from the state Department of Health, recycling coordinators from Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Counties, as well as the city of Honolulu, and representatives from the Consumer Electronics Association, the Consumer Electronics Retailers Council, major retailers, the local recycling industry, the shipping and freight industry, and other consumer or industrial technology stakeholders. The goal of the all-volunteer task force is to make recommendations and serve as a guidance body for Hawaii's electronics recycling program. The body is scheduled to disband on June 30, 2013.

In Indiana, SB 131 was signed into law, which makes minor revisions to the state's e-scrap program. Included is an extension of the manufacturer non-compliance penalty date to November 1 of the following program year. The bill also authorizes the state to provide solid waste management districts in Indiana with consumer education and material handling best practices information to help in their e-scrap efforts.

The most talked about recycling legislation of the year, however, occurred at the federal level, where lawmakers again introduced HR 2284, The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act. The bill would amend the U.S. Solid Waste Disposal Act to prohibit the export of restricted electronic waste to countries that are not members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or the European Union, as well as require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop criteria to identify hazardous materials in electronics.

The bill sparked a fierce debate within the electronics recycling industry, with many recycling firms, international refurbishment organizations and the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries lobbying against the bill, while environmental activists and a new industry-led group called the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling supporting it.

CAER saw impressive growth since its founding this past year and currently counts 77 companies as members, including Waste Management, Cascade Asset Management, ECS Refining, and ISRI members Electronic Recyclers International and Sims Recycling Solutions, as well as many other large firms. While the bill showed few signs of progress, its strong lobbying support will make it one to watch when it is reintroduced next session.

For more on recycling's legislative progress in 2012, see the December issue of Resource Recycling magazine.

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