SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The new bill signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to bring about notable changes to the state’s electronics recycling program. The Senate Bill SB 981 will place more responsibility on manufacturers of electronic products. Moreover, state will have more enforcement power to oversee the program. It must be noted that the bill has been waiting for Governor’s signature for a long time, since its passage by the state legislature in November 2016.
New Jersey’s current law requires each manufacturer to provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its "return share in weight" as estimated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). There have been several allegations with respect to the current practice. Firstly, data required to perform the return share calculation is not widely available. In addition, the determination of manufacturers’ obligations by the DEP has often underestimated the actual amount collected.
Under the new bill, each manufacturer of covered electronic devices are required to provide for the collection, transportation, and recycling of its market share in weight of all covered electronic devices collected in a program year. The bill would repeal the sections of current law pertaining only to television manufacturers. Under the new bill, television manufacturers are also required to calculate the manufacturers’ obligation in the same way as the manufacturers of other covered electronic devices. Thus, the obligation would be the same for both television manufacturers and the manufacturers of other covered electronic devices.
SB 981 requires manufacturers to provide a free and convenient electronic waste recycling program for all collected covered electronic devices. DEPs are allowed to establish a statewide standard program to collect, transport, and recycle covered electronic devices. In the event of establishment of such a program, all manufacturers with 10% or less market share are required to become participants. A manufacturer or a group of manufacturers are given choice to either participate in the program or establish their own program subject to receiving approval from DEP for the proposed program plan.
The bill brings in fax machines and printers under the definition of “covered electronics”. At the same time, it excludes handheld device used to access commercial mobile data service or commercial mobile radio service. Also, the definition of “consumer” would now include state entities, school districts and local government units.
According to the new bill, recycling centres will be authorized to operate only if they possess DEP’s class D recycling center permit. Recycling centres are required to pay annual fees of $15,000 as registration fees to become approved. The fee thus collected will be used by the department to cover the costs of development, implementation, and review of the project.
The DEP will publish an annual report which will include complete listing of collection locations and recyclers. It must specify the amount of material by weight collected at each site and also the amount of material by weight recycled annually. Collection locations are required to submit report semiannually. The manufacturers are also required to submit semiannual reports, detailing their progress towards achieving their market share in weight obligation.
The bill proposes to establish "Electronic Waste Management Fund", to which all penalties and revenues will be credited. The fund will be used towards successful administration and enforcement of the program. It will also be used to meet other costs of the program.