Bill to revamp Illinois e-waste system moves forward

Dive Brief:

  • The Illinois Senate is currently considering amendments to a bill, SB1417, that would update the state's Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act. The Senate's Environment and Conservation Committee recently voted to approve the bill, as reported by WTTW.
  • The key change would involve updating the system that determines how much electronics manufacturers must pay into the program from a weight-based standard to a "convenience standard." Current requirements are based on the weight of material sold during the previous year, with a penalty of 70 pounds per pound, but this doesn't take into account the trend toward lighter weight electronics. 
  • The new system would establish drop-off sites based on population density and require manufacturers to pay for all material collected. As currently proposed, this change would take effect in 2019.

Dive Insight:

The Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act, established in 2008, currently covers 17 types of devices and banned their disposal as of 2012. The Illinois Environmental Council — which supports the amendments to update this plan along with other state environmental groups — reportedly fought to keep all of those devices on the list and expand the number of drop-off sites under the new program. 

Leading up to this discussion of an update, multiple drop-off centers have closed in Illinois and the state's Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly highlighted challenges with the program. In their most recent annual report, filed in February 2016, the agency included a map showing more than three dozen counties with "underdeveloped" collection infrastructure. The report's main recommendation was to expand that infrastructure and stabilize collection opportunities in all areas for all devices.

Illinois is one of multiple states that has considered updating its electronics recycling legislation to recognize changes in the material stream and reconsider the best way to ensure financial stability funded by manufacturer obligations. All involved recognize that the current policies could be improved, and at least one Illinois recycler blamed them for his bankruptcy, which increases the odds for some type of change coming to the program. 

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Filed Under: Recycling Regulation Waste Diversion
Top image credit: Geograph