DEP Engages Public In Development Of E-Waste Recycling Rules

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TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection is soliciting preliminary comments on rules the department has drafted for development of a statewide system of recycling of computers and TVs generated as waste by consumers.

“Recycling is a priority of the DEP, and getting more of this electronic material out of the waste stream is important to that effort,” Commissioner Bob Martin said.

“Because of the great deal of public interest and the significant increase in the generation of this type of waste in recent years, the DEP is going above and beyond its normal rulemaking process by giving the public, environmental advocates, businesses, and manufacturers of covered electronic devices an opportunity to provide comments before we formally propose regulations.”

The Electronic Waste Management Act bans the disposal of televisions and all personal or portable computers – including desktop, notebook and laptop computers, as well as computer monitors – in the regular waste stream beginning Jan. 1, 2011. It requires manufacturers of these devices to establish and finance a free system for collecting and recycling this waste, known as electronic waste or e-waste.

The law does not cover cell phones, DVD players, VCRs, game consoles or electronic devices such as radios or TVs found in automobiles, although some county and municipal programs, nonprofit community service agencies, and businesses that sell electronic devices do collect these.

Electronic waste is growing two to three times faster than any other component of the waste stream because of the high turnover in consumer purchases of electronic devices, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Electronic waste contains toxic materials such as lead, mercury, nickel and cadmium that can end up in landfills or solid waste incinerators if not recycled.

The DEP anticipates that manufacturers will develop collection programs through partnerships with county and municipal governments. Currently all of New Jersey’s counties and more than 180 municipalities have e-waste collection and recycling programs.

The DEP has proposed draft regulations that set up a registration system for manufacturers of electronic devices covered by the law as well as the requirements for the development of required manufacturer collection and recycling plans.

The draft regulations establish methodologies for the department to use to determine market shares for television manufacturers and return shares based on weight for other covered electronic devices for the purposes of apportioning responsibility for program costs.

To read the draft rules, view a list of e-waste recycling facilities and learn more about e-waste, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling/Electronic_Waste/index.html

The DEP will accept comments on the draft rules until Nov. 15. Comments may be sent by e-mail to ecycle@dep.state.nj.us. The DEP will review those comments and publish a formal rule proposal, which will trigger a 60-day formal public comment period, during which a public hearing may be scheduled.


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