Illinois Considers E-Waste Recycling Law
In Illinois, a bill has been introduced to responsibly deal with electronic waste, usually called e-waste.
SB1583, the Electronic Scrap Recycling Act, sponsored by State Senator Susan Garrett, would create and finance a collection, transportation, and processing system throughout the state for the convenient, safe, and environmentally sound recycling of electronic products. The bill is expected to create more than 20 companies and over 1,800 jobs in Illinois.
By January 2009, manufacturers would be responsible for establishing and funding the program, retailers for consumer education, consumers for turning in their old electronics, and, ultimately, state government for oversight and enforcement.
The program would cover equipment such as computers, monitors, televisions, printers, fax machines, cell phones, calculators, and PDAs.
The bill stipulates that by January 2009, any covered electronic devices sold in the state must meet the Restrictions on Hazardous Standards already in force in the European Union regarding allowable amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers used in the manufacturing of electronic devices.
Two years after the bill takes effect, in 2011, the bill would make it illegal in Illinois to dispose of any covered electronic in a landfill or incinerator. The extra two years would allow Illinois’ recycling infrastructure time to prepare for the extra volume.
Of the 2.6 million tons of obsolete electronics, or e-waste, generated in the U.S. in 2005, only 330,000 tons were recycled. E-waste is the fastest growing element in the solid waste stream, and the vast majority of it–87.5 percent–ends up in landfills, seeping toxic waste into the groundwater.
Despite this, the federal government has taken no action to date and only four states –all on the East and West coasts–have passed legislation to address this growing crisis.