June 8, 2011
AUGUSTA – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Melissa Walsh Innes, D-Yarmouth, that expands Maine’s current electronics recycling ("e-waste") program became law Wednesday. The bill allows Maine’s schools, non-profits, and small businesses (with 100 or fewer employees) to recycle their old electronics at no disposal cost to them. Currently, only households can participate in Maine’s e-waste program. The legislation will also allow Maine consolidators to create much-needed jobs at their facilities.
The expansion of the product stewardship law will save money for Maine businesses, non-profits and schools and will reduce toxic ewaste going into Maine's incinerators and landfills. In addition, an estimated 16-18 new jobs will be created at an electronics recycling facility in Auburn.
“The unanimous passage of the bill signals that the Maine Legislature is committed to protecting our environment while also creating jobs,” said Innes. "Product stewardship initiatives, like the bottle bill, create jobs by turning today's trash into tomorrow's products, and save taxpayers money by privatizing the waste stream to benefit society.”
“This program marries the needs of small businesses and schools, and organizations that operate under tight financial conditions, with protecting Maine’s most important resource, its environment,” said Rick Dumas, Chief Executive Officer of eWaste Recycling Solutions, a company that provides safe and environmentally sound disassembly, consolidation and transportation services for recycling and disposal of electronic devices such as computer and television monitors as well as many other products categorized as e-waste under local, state and federal law. Centrally located in Auburn, eWaste Recycling Solutions have the only Maine based de-manufacturing facility of companies approved by the Department of Environmental Protection.
“It is a clear demonstration of the business and environmental communities, government, regulators and educators coming together for the good of our state, and the immediate result is that eWaste Recycling Solutions will create 16-18 “green-collar” jobs. LD 981 is a win-win for every party that has been involved with the process,” said Dumas.
"This legislation is a victory for Maine's economy and our environment,” said Matt Prindiville, Clean Production Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Not only will this bill grow jobs and reduce costs for small businesses, it will also keep millions of pounds of toxic materials out of Maine's environment by recycling more electronics into new products.”
“Since 2004, this manufacturer financed program has recycled over 30 million pounds of electronics, 30 million pounds that most likely would have ended up in our landfills or burned in our energy plants, spewing toxic fumes into our air,” said Rep. Innes. “Not only will this bill help protect our environment, but it will create much needed jobs as well.”
Patricia Aho, Deputy Commissioner of DEP said, “We were pleased to be able to work collaboratively and cooperatively to facilitate opportunities for small businesses here in Maine.”
Jodi Quintero [Walsh Innes], 287-1488, c. 841-6279