On January 9, the Governor, in a complete surprise to all parties, signed S-981, the electronics recycling bill that has been passed, pocket vetoed and passed again.
This bill, now P.L. 2016-85 clearly makes the manufacturers of certain electronic devices, responsible for the cost of their recycling. It is a true producer responsibility law.
The signing of this bill is a good example of what can be accomplished when people engage in a democracy. Individual citizens, towns and counties united to send letters, pass resolutions and inundate the Governor’s office with encouragement to sign the bill. DEMOCRACY DOES WORK…
I have waited to write about this because as in many laws, the devil is in the details. The key here is what the NJDEP will do to implement the law. This is still a question.
My primary concern is that the manufacturers will try to undermine the law by trying to continue to underpay for the recycling service then cry to the legislature that they tried to make it work, but couldn’t. DEP has the tools to stop this, and I trust that they will do so.
We shall wait and see…but this is a good first step.
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PREVENTING THE E-WASTE STREAM FROM BECOMING A FLOOD
NBC News has recently run a very revealing piece with regard to electronics waste that answers the question. First, put this in perspective…The manufacturers made their profit on CRT’s years ago…now they are being asked to pay for the proper disposal of these old units…and they don’t want to.
So, in some states, like NY and NJ; among others…they are required to take responsibility for these units…and yes, I have written on this before…
The manufacturers’ response? Say that they are doing the right thing…start a recycling consortium that dominates the market…then lower the price paid to level that is so low that all recyclers who are not a pert of their system are driven to bankruptcy…and then shift the program costs to municipal and county governments through hidden fees or fees that are just outside of the law.
The result is clear. Increased illegal dumping of toxic materials. Reduced recycling and manufacturers of electronics lying and saying that they are doing the right thing…
WE in NJ have another opportunity to correct this problem…however, at first blush it appears that the Governor’s office is listening to the lies and watering down what was a good bill…and keeping the cost on the taxpayers where it does not belong.
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Old TVs Create Toxic Problem for Recycling Programs Across America
I was invited to testify at the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on February 9. The topic? Electronics Waste Recycling (e-waste).
New Jersey passed a comprehensive electronics waste recycling law in 2009 that was designed to take dangerous CRT’s out of the waste stream and guarantee that they be recycled. The law worked just fine for the first few years. However, technology does not stand still.
In 2013 and 2014, the market for the glass in CRT’s essentially died….people now buy flat screen monitors and televisions, so, there is no place to put the glass.
In response to this problem, and the apparent difficulty in getting manufacturers to fully comply with the law’s provisions that prohibit charging consumers for the recycling program in any way, this hearing was held as a first step in correcting a real problem.
What is that problem? Simply that there is a disconnect between the manufacturers taking responsibility for the material in a way that allows for recycling companies to be profitable and the amount of material that needs to be recycled.
So what do you think as consumers?
Visit the EnviroPolitics Blog to learn more about the discussion on Electronics Waste Recycling:
Hearing exposes turmoil in electronics recycling in NJ