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March 2004

Electronics Industry Reaches Recycling Program Agreement

Arlington, VA— Representatives from the U.S. electronics industry have endorsed a resolution with state governments and environmental groups to develop sustainable, fair and flexible recycling efforts nationwide, the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) announced. As part of that resolution, manufacturers will work together to develop a framework for financing the nationwide recycling program that an EPA-initiated stakeholders group known as the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) will then recommend to Congress. The difficult task ahead for industry is to reach consensus on the divergent views among companies. Specifically, industry will create a proposal for legislation that will finance recycling programs through a fee at point of sale or allow companies to create alternative plans to manage costs without a fee on their products. Manufacturers will also be given flexibility in fulfilling their recycling responsibilities either collectively or individually, through the development of “Alternative Stewardship Plans.” The Alternative Stewardship Plans will demonstrate how manufacturers intend to meet or surpass collection and recycling goals set by EPA or another neutral party.

EIA has been a charter member of the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) organized the multi-stakeholder dialogue effort in April of 2001. The objective of the Initiative was to discuss and reach agreement on a national solution for the financing of end of life electronics.

In noting the presence of Dell, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Panasonic and Sharp, at the negotiating table, Bowman said “the members who represented industry in NEPSI have shown incredible leadership in agreeing to work together in the near future on how best to finance recycling efforts. The other stakeholders should be commended as well for their willingness to ratify new approaches for dealing with a new and incredibly complex environmental challenge.”

EIA believes one of the primary benefits of participation in NEPSI has been the ability of all stakeholders to understand the complexities posed by the electronics waste issue. “This isn’t just a manufacturers’ issue, or a consumer issue, or a problem the states have to handle,” noted Bowman. “It is an issue affecting everyone. EIA is pleased with this significant progress.”

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