E-Waste Meeting Ends Without Final Agreement
Three years of negotiations by industry, government and environmental stakeholders ended last month without final agreement on how to solve the nation’s growing e-waste crisis.
Stakeholders had come together in a last-ditch attempt to frame a nation-wide policy to pay for cleaning up the growing crisis of toxic computer and TV wastes.
The participants, who have been meeting for over three years as the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI), failed to reach a consensus financing agreement for a final proposal to Congress.
“Industry still has not been able to come up with a financing policy that works,” said Ted Smith of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, an environmental group prominent in the debate over solutions to electronics waste. “For three years, IBM and several TV manufacturers have lobbied for a skimpy recycling fee, which would pass on most costs to local governments. Now, late in the game, electronics companies have finally come up with a new vague outline that would allow some companies to take responsibility for their own products rather than charge consumers an extra fee.”
Local solid waste officials will be swamped by an e-tsunami of computers and TVs if the standard debated at the NEPSI had been adopted, critics say. The standard calls for an “advance recycling fee” or ARF of $5 per unit.
The proposal could leave taxpayers footing a large chunk of a bill for e-waste that could easily top $10 billion, according to the Computer TakeBack Campaign, a coalition of environmental and recycling groups in the United States and abroad.
“Contrary to assertions by industry lobbyists that the problem is now solved, the ball is clearly in the electronics industry’s court to finally come forward with a comprehensive financing solution that is supported by a significant portion of the market share for both computers and televisions,” said David Wood of the GrassRoots Recycling Network. “Since most people have very little confidence that the industry will be successful in this task, the states are continuing to aggressively move forward with their local legislative solutions.”
Provided by the Environmental News Service.