As New Jersey regulators implement changes to the state’s electronics recycling law, they say they have no intention of creating a statewide standard plan, according to the leader of a recycling group in the state.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on July 10 held a meeting in the capital of Trenton to update stakeholders on their progress implementing changes to the state’s extended producer responsibility law for electronics.
The changes are a result of Gov. Chris Christie’s signing in January of Senate Bill 981, which made multiple changes to the program. The bill adds printers and fax machines to the list of covered devices, changes the state’s process for calculating e-scrap collection and recycling targets and requires more frequent data reporting from additional parties.
In addition, it allows, but does not require, the DEP to create a third-party-administered standard collection and recycling program that manufacturers would be forced to join unless they submit plans to opt out. That system would be similar to the approach employed in Oregon and Vermont.
DEP has yet to upload information and video of the meeting to its website. Marie Kruzan, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR), attended the July 10 meeting and emailed her notes to stakeholders on July 14.
“They hope to never have to implement this section of the law, is what they said,” said Kruzan, an advocate for the statewide standard plan.
Electronics manufacturers generally oppose the approach because it restricts their ability to contract with the companies they want to work with, taking cost and efficiency decisions out of their hands.
Kruzan said she is hopeful other changes will improve the program, particularly the expanded data reporting. Beginning next month, municipalities collecting electronics, other collection sites, authorized recyclers and electronics manufacturers will have to begin semi-annual reporting. With that information in hand, DEP will have the ability to adjust the manufacturer’s weight targets mid-year to ensure all collected electronics are covered, she said.
“They’re looking to get better information, which is what they need to make decisions,” she said.
According to the DEP, the printers and fax machines will be added to the program starting Jan. 1, 2018. That’s also the deadline for manufacturers of those products to register with the DEP.
Also on that date, covered electronics from state entities, school districts, local governments and small businesses will be added to the program.
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