First-In-The-Nation Law Requires Recycling of Electronic Waste
January 18, 2006
Carole Cifrino 207-287-7720 email@example.com
(AUGUSTA)—Beginning today, 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.
According to DEP’s Acting Commissioner David P. Littell, the environment is the big winner.
“Maine’s program will keep up to eight pounds of toxic materials per unit out of our landfills and incinerators. With thousands of units being replaced each year, there’s a tremendous environmental benefit to be gained by recycling,” said Littell. “Getting toxics out of the waste stream—removing potential sources of contamination-- is the bottom line.”
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.
“I am proud that Mainers have shown our strong environmental leadership again, this time tackling the safe recycling of electronic waste to keep toxics out of our environment,” said Governor John Baldacci. “Maine’s electronic waste recycling law based on product stewardship is a national model as it protects our environment, saves taxpayers money and puts costs where they belong to encourage safe design and recycling of electronic wastes.”
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.