JULY 2008

New e-waste legislation pending in various states
Manufacturers are to cover state costs for programs

At least 18 state legislatures, plus the city of New York, have considered electronics waste legislation this year. This is twice the number that considered it in the entire 2003-2007 period. So far, four states and New York City have passed e-waste laws, two passed less-extensive measures, two states seem close to passing laws, and five states have measures pending.

The laws generally hold electronics makers responsible for collection and disposal of their old products, requiring producers to set up programs to collect, handle and recycle their old products at reasonably convenient locations.

Manufacturers must register with state environmental agencies and pay registration fees to cover state costs to oversee collection and recycling programs.

The laws’ ultimate penalty is a ban on retail sales of products by noncompliant manufacturers. Much of this year’s legislative crop grew out of fear about the digital TV transition making millions of TVs obsolete, as well as concern that electronic discards in general will multiply dramatically in the next few years.

New Jersey, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and New York City passed e-waste laws, all taking effect in January except New York City, which takes effect the following July.

New Hampshire and New Mexico passed less-comprehensive bills.

Missouri and Illinois were poised to enact legislation, and Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Vermont had bills pending. Legislation failed in Hawaii, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska and New York.