The New York State legislature passed a new electronics recycling law on Friday over unified Republican opposition, according to a report in the Albany Business Journal.
The new bill attempts to limit the growth of hazardous waste in New York landfills by requiring manufacturers to accept used electronics from consumers. Manufacturers must pay $5,000 to register with the program, and an additional $3,000 each year in reporting fees to report to the state how much material they have recycled.
The bill does allow manufacturers to charge a fee to businesses with more than 50 employees or non-profit organizations with more than 75.
The state legislation would trump New York City’s e-waste recycling program, which has been challenged by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). Panasonic, LG Electronics, Sony and Samsung have objected to the New York City law, arguing that requiring companies to collect used equipment from the homes of consumers in city’s in which they may only have a minimal presence imposes an undue burden. The group has estimated the program will cost companies over $200 million a year.
This is despite the fact that many electronics manufacturers are actually expanding their own recycling initiatives. Panasonic itself expanded its Nationwide Recycling Program, with 30 additional drop-off sites in the Southeastern United States including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Several of the companies supporting the CEA challenge are also part of the Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM), which seeks to improve cooperation between its members to make recycling more convenient.
New York City has also launched a textile recycling program which has so far proven significantly less controversial. The city is currently looking for contractors to bid on a 10 year contract to establish 250 collection sites for used clothing, which could result in over 2,500 tons of textiles being recycled every year in what a New York Times article described as the first large scale effort of its kind in the nation.