States Considering E-Waste Laws Leaning to Market Share Responsibility

Date: March 15, 2010

Source: News Room

Environmental groups report that as many as eight states are considering e-waste legislation this year, in line with what was introduced in 2009. Most of the 2010 bills prescribe some form of producer responsibility according to the National Center for Electronics Recycling. So far, twenty states and New York City have enacted e-waste laws. More recent proposals are moving toward market share-based financing obligations for manufacturers in favor of return share, or divvying up the cost of handling whatever comes back. States' interest in tackling the e-waste problem is still high, given the number of bills in play this year, said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. She said states where legislation has been out for a couple of years, like Massachusetts and Vermont, are more likely to pass e-waste laws this year. However, according to Adam Schafer, executive director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, energy and renewable energy issues will likely overshadow e-waste this year.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is discussing with its members about whether the trend toward market share cost obligation is the "direction they want to go," said Amy Dempster, CEA manager of environmental policy. Members are uncomfortable with uncertainty about when a consumer might choose to return a product. The CEA is striving to create a "single, unified voice" for the industry, she said, referring to longstanding fissures in the industry over financing mechanisms.

Lately, all eyes are on New York City where e-waste legislation is being challenged for overreaching the bounds of interstate commerce and regulating manufacturers with little control over the distribution of their products.

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