I am proud to be the lead Senate Sponsor of S. 352/ H. 252, “An Act to require producer responsibility for collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronic products” (the “E-Waste” Bill.
I know that a number of other legislators have filed similar or related bills.
S. 352 is essentially the bill reported favorably by the Committee last Session (H. 4374).
What does this bill do?
- S. 352 would make it illegal to dispose of e-waste products in the landfill and instead mandate that they be recycled responsibly.
- It requires producers of electronic products to pay for the collection, transportation and recycling of e-waste or to set up their own recycling collection facilities.
- By connecting responsible disposal to manufacturers, the bill encourages producers to make products that are “greener”, easier to disassemble and less expensive to recycle.
Why is this bill important?
Electronic waste (e-waste) – i.e. computers, televisions and printers – makes up the fastest growing portion of trash collected by cities and towns in the Commonwealth.
In 2006, Massachusetts residents discarded over 8 million pounds of e-waste. These products contain significant amounts of toxic substances, including lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium.
These contaminants persist in the environment and cause untold health problems, including brain damage, kidney problems and learning disabilities.
Currently, e-waste goes to one of three places.
- landfills, where the toxic chemicals can leach into our water and soil.
- developing countries, contributing to high levels of pollution and serious health risks.
- OR recycled responsibly — but this is very expensive, and right now, the municipalities are bearing the cost.
Some of the important elements in any EWASTE bill include:
- Cover a Broad scope of products
- Mandate Producer Responsibility – to pay all costs of collection, reuse, and recycling of covered electronic products
- Set performance goals for producers – ways to measure our progress
With passage of this bill, Massachusetts would join 16 other states and New York City in enacting legislation to regulate disposal of e-waste.
It will boost the recycling industry in Massachusetts and help to ensure that Massachusetts does not contribute to the pollution problems of other countries.
I urge the Committee to report a comprehensive EWASTE bill promptly so the Legislature has time to pass it this Session.