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Manufacturers Have More Responsibility for Managing E-Waste Under New Jersey Law

New Jersey has a new law to require manufactures to recycle more of their electronics — an endeavor that had previously stalled because it had failed to keep up with all the new products that made such an effort difficult. The bill, signed yesterday, tells electronic makers that they must bear the cost and the responsibility of recycling electronic waste.

According to New Jersey Spotlight, the effort has languished since 2008 when the program began. What’s happened is that the market for electronic waste declined, which meant that manufacturers cut back on pick ups. As a result, the localities picked up the cost of that recycling program.

“Current law requires the recycling of e-waste, but manufacturers, in recent years, have been dodging their responsibility to work with municipalities and counties to get the job done,’’ said Dominick D’Altilio, president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, which lobbied for the changes, in the NJ Spotlight story.

“This law clarifies the manufacturers’ obligation and gives the state Department of Environmental Protection new power to act should the product makers drop the ball,’’ the story quotes him as saying.

Electronic waste, such as old computers, is a growing part of the waste stream that not just New Jersey is trying to tackle but also other states. The goal is to keep toxic materials such as lead and cadmium from getting into soil via the landfills.

If the materials can be recycled, it would help accomplish that goal. Recycled materials use less energy, emphasize supporters of the measure, which prevents greenhouse gas emissions as well.

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