March 2006

Maine’s new waste law requires recycling of electronics

Augusta, ME— Effective immediately, television and computer monitor manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products used in Maine households are properly recycled. These monitors, a fast growing category of solid waste, contain several pounds of lead and other toxic materials.

Maine has plans from over six dozen manufacturers indicating they will comply with Maine’s E-Waste law, representing virtually all the brands expected to generate waste. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved five consolidators to manage the waste from all areas of the state. The consolidators then send the waste for recycling and bill the manufacturers for their costs.

When manufacturers are responsible for the costs of end-of-life management of their products, it’s expected they will use their expertise and innovative strength to design their products so materials can be reused and have value when the product in no longer needed.

Once the electronic waste is recycled, it will decrease the need for environmentally harmful mining and manufacturing of virgin materials.

Other states are eyeing Maine’s approach that encourages manufacturers to use less lead and toxic materials and saves consumers and municipalities’ money spent on disposing electronic waste items. Over a dozen states are considering legislation to establish recycling laws similar to Maine’s.

Beginning July 20, 2006, the disposal of televisions and computer monitors is prohibited in Maine. This means that each municipality must provide its residents with a means to recycle their televisions and computer monitors (or ship these wastes out of state for disposal).

 


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