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Client Alert: New Law Regulates Electronics Recycling

12.03.10

Following the lead of New York State, on November 23, 2010, Governor Ed Rendell signed into law the Covered Device Recycling Act (HB 708) (“Act”). The Act governs the recycling of covered consumer electronic devices through regulation of device manufacturers and retailers. Covered devices include computer monitors, desktop and personal computers, and televisions, used by consumers for personal or small business use. 

The Act becomes effective on January 22, 2011. Within six months of that date, manufacturers of covered devices are required to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”), provide a list of the brand names of the covered devices they manufacture, and pay a registration fee of $5000.  

Manufacturers are required to submit a plan to DEP to establish, conduct and manage collection, transportation and recycling of a quantity of covered devices equal to the manufacturer’s market share pursuant to a specified formula. The plan must include, among other things, the methods that will be used to collected the devices, including the name and locations of collection sites; the processes that will be used for recycling, including names and locations of recyclers to be used; the means that will used to publicize collection opportunities, including website addresses and toll-free telephone numbers where information will be provided; and an estimate of the weight of covered devices to be collected during the first program year. The initial plan must also include information on the process the manufacturer will use to increase the collection of covered devices by a minimum of 2% by weight per year. Groups of manufacturers may submit joint plans to DEP.    

Retailers need to ensure that manufacturers, including those out of state, are aware of and comply with the Act. Within a year of the effective date of the bill, retailers will be prohibited from selling any devices that are not properly registered, and will be required to consult the DEP registration list to ensure devices sold are listed. Retailers will also be required to post information concerning the manner in which a covered device must be recycled and the locations of collection sites. No fees can be charged to consumers for collection or recycling of the devices, unless a financial incentive (e.g., coupon or rebate) of equal or greater value is offered to the consumer. 

Two years after the effective date of the Act, no covered devices may be disposed of in municipal solid waste facilities.  

Annual reports of sales and recycling data must be submitted each year along with a $5000 annual renewal fee. If a manufacturer fails to comply with an approved plan, it must submit a payment to cover the cost of collecting, transporting, and recycling the unmet portion of the sum of the obligated shares in weight. The payment is equal to the quantity of the unmet portion, in pounds, plus 10% of such quantity, multiplied by the cost per found for such collection, transportation, and recycling (as determined by DEP consistent with the Act.). DEP can also bring enforcement actions and impose fines for non-compliance.  

For advice and guidance concerning recycling plans or additional information concerning the Covered Device Recycling Act, please contact Julie Beddingfield at (215)569-1639 or jbeddingfield@klehr.com.