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EIA Framework Could Pave Way For Recycling Legislation

The Electronic Industries Alliance has released (via TreeHugger) a framework (PDF) that the aliance says paves the way for federal legislation establishing a national program for recycling household TVs and IT products such as computers and computer monitors.

The framework calls for a financing approach that separates TVs from desktop computers, laptops and computer monitors to reflect their divergent business models, market composition and consumer base. TVs have an expected lifecycle of 15-17 years and are purchased by individual consumers from retailers. New entrants can rapidly gain a significant share of the market only to disappear a few years later.

Under the EIA proposal, TV collection and recycling would be primarily conducted by an industry-sponsored third party organization and initially supported by a nominal fee paid by consumers at the point of purchase. The fee would eventually expire, once a significant number of so-called “legacy” sets are recovered.

IT equipment has an expected lifecycle of 6-8 years and is more often sold directly to the consumer. The EIA proposal calls for each producer of IT equipment to implement a program to collect and recycle its products. IT manufacturers would have to offer such a program as a condition of conducting business.

A provision calls for meeting the materials restrictions established by the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and a similar California statute.

In addition, the proposal says Congress should codify a requirement that the federal government purchase environmentally preferable IT equipment, such as those products meeting the EPEAT standard, which was the subject of an executive order President Bush signed in January. 

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