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McKeon & Gusciora Electronic Waste Management Reform Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John F. McKeon and Reed Gusciora to help protect the environment by reforming the recycling of electronics received final legislative approval from the full Assembly by a vote of 60-12 on Monday.

The sponsors said many counties have begun to put an end to electronic waste recycling due to problems with the current program.

The bill (A-2375) requires each manufacturer of “covered electronic waste devices” to provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its market share in weight of all covered electronic devices in a program. The requirement would be to replace the current law’s mandate that each manufacturer provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its “return share in weight” as estimated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The data required to perform the return share calculation are not widely available. Moreover, the DEP determinations of the manufacturers’ obligation under the law have underestimated the actual amount collected.

Under the legislation, the DEP would be allowed to establish a statewide standard program to collect, transport, and recycle covered electronic devices.

“Boosting recycling, especially of the new and dangerous materials in “e-waste” is the key to minimizing damage to our environment,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “Recycled materials consume less energy than using virgin materials to make new products, which means less greenhouse gases are emitted because less energy is consumed.”

“This is a win-win for our state,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “It’s a common sense move that will be good for both our economy and environment.”

The bill would provide that the calculation of a manufacturer’s obligation be performed in the same way for both television manufacturers and the manufacturers of other covered electronic devices. The changes to the law made by the bill would assure that manufacturers provide a free and convenient electronic waste recycling program that provides for all of the covered electronic devices that are collected. The bill would allow DEP to adjust the market share in weight obligation based upon the total weight in pounds actually collected in each program year.

The bill would also establish the “Electronic Waste Management Fund.” All program revenues and penalties would be deposited in the fun for administration and enforcement and other costs of the program.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.