Electronics Manufacturers Contend With Doubling Of Recycling Laws - InformationWeek

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05:51 PM

Electronics Manufacturers Contend With Doubling Of Recycling Laws

EIA officials urged the U.S. Congress Wednesday to enact federal laws that would eliminate the challenges manufacturers face.

The Electronics Industries Alliance is wary of a proliferation of electronics recycling laws and wants the federal government to act.

EIA officials urged the U.S. Congress Wednesday to enact federal laws that would eliminate the challenges manufacturers face while dealing with a patchwork of state regulations regarding electronics recycling.

The EIA, which has asked for federal "e-cycling" laws in the past, reiterated its call for a national approach, while Texas and Connecticut prepare to enact recycling laws. Once governors of those two states sign legislation mandating electronics recycling, manufacturers will face eight unique sets of requirements, twice as many as last year, according to the trade organization.

Other states and localities, like New York City, are also considering their own electronics recycling laws.

"This is an issue crying out for a national solution," EIA interim President and CEO Matt Flanigan said in a prepared statement. "These laws vary dramatically from state to state, picking winners and losers among electronics manufacturers and retailers. If fifty legislatures rewrite business models state by state, consumers could see higher costs and fewer choices -- all without any commensurate environmental benefit. Last month, the EIA released an outline for a national recycling program for household TV and computer equipment. The proposal represents the first consensus agreement among information technology and TV manufacturers regarding electronics recycling.

The plan calls for the separation of televisions from computer equipment and different guidelines for the two types of electronic equipments. An industry-sponsored third party organization would collect and recycle television sets and, initially, consumers would pay a fee while making purchases. Once a significant number of "legacy" devices are out of use, the fee would expire.

Makers of IT equipment would be responsible for collecting and recycling their goods in a way that is convenient and free for household consumers. Participants would have to show that they relay only on providers that meet standards for environmentally sound management and business practices.

"Congress can do right by the environment, consumers and the electronics industry by adopting a national recycling plan," Flanigan said.

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