“Governor Perry must seize the opportunity to be the first Governor of a so-called ‘red state’ to sign a computer recycling bill that requires producers to provide free and convenient recycling for consumer’s old computers,” she said in a recent statement.
The bill (HB 2714) requires computer manufacturers to provide a “reasonably convenient” recycling plan that requires no additional payments from consumers. Dell and HP provided some model legislation that was used as the basis for the bill, which will only affect computers purchased for personal or home business use, but it could still encourage manufacturers to adopt efficient recycling programs that might then be applied to all machines sold.
The bill would go into effect on September 1, 2008, and would require computer manufacturers to submit their recycling plans to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Companies would also need to file yearly reports on the amount of material recycled.
Assuming that it gains the governor’s signature (it has not yet been signed), the bill looks set to do some good in the computer industry, though it won’t have much effect on corporations like Dell. Dell already has a comprehensive recycling program in place, even offering free recycling of non-Dell machines when users order new Dell computers. To encourage the governor to sign, a dozen environmental activists showed up at the governor’s mansion recently, and they came equipped with the Giant Signing Pen of Shame (not their term for it).
A state analysis showed that the new regulation would cost the state almost nothing to implement, and groups that support the measure believe that it would have a negligible effect on computer prices as well. By requiring every computer company to implement a recycling program and to bear the costs of doing it, the law hopes to use market incentives to stimulate innovative thinking when it comes to recycling the toxic materials found in computer products.
The disposal and recycling are supposed to happen in accordance with state and federal environmental regulations, but Texas has limited power over exports. Hopefully, “innovative thinking” doesn’t mean just shipping the waste to China.
Tags: producer responsibility
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