New York state closes in on thermostat-collection law

New York state closes in on thermostat-collection law

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

New York state lawmakers last weekend passed legislation that would require thermostat manufacturers to develop programs for more efficiently collecting old, mercury-containing devices once they are no longer in use. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

If the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act is signed into law, manufacturers will be required to institute strategies to help the state reach its pre-established goal of collecting 15,500 mercury thermostats by 2015. If those goals are not reached, The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will been enlisted to implement and oversee necessary changes to the program, as well as update annual collection goals following 2015.

A recent report from the Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. states that the current manufacture-led effort in New York collects only 1 percent of the more than 300,000 mercury thermostats taken out of service in New York state every year. Andrew Radin, chairman of the New York Product Stewardship Council, said in a release the recent legislation can help ensure more of the devices are properly disposed of: "Mercury is a neurotoxin that can cause birth defects and many other illnesses. This kind of extended producer responsibility legislation will lead to a healthier environment, and help protect our state's air, land, and water resources."

Supporters of the bill say the presence of strict manufacturer guidelines modeled after those developed by The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. will open the door to more collection success. Similar legislation has worked elsewhere, said PSI's chief executive officer, Scott Cassel: "We hope that, with the new system of checks and balances, collection rates in New York will improve as they have following the passage of thermostat stewardship laws in Maine and Vermont."

If Cuomo signs the bill, New York will be the 12th state to pass a thermostat stewardship law.

Schutte Buffalo Hammer Mill

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

.

.