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New Jersey Mandates Recycling of Televisions and Computers



February 27, 2008

Consumers, retailers, and (especially) manufacturers of televisions and computers will have to change the way they conduct their business over the next two years. New Jersey has joined a small but growing number of states that have enacted laws designed to control “electronic waste” with the passage of the Electronic Waste Management Act. Governor Corzine signed the bill into law on January 13, 2008.

As of 2010, it will be illegal to dispose of used televisions, computers, computer monitors, or any of their components as solid waste. To deal with such materials, the legislation establishes a complicated set of requirements to allow for their recycling by established recycling programs or by manufacturers themselves. Local and county recycling programs will have to be revamped to provide for collection and recycling of televisions and computers (DEP will step in with a statewide plan if necessary), and manufacturers (either alone or in groups) will be permitted to set up their own programs.

Beginning in 2009, the law also requires manufacturers to register each year with DEP, to pay a $5,000 annual registration fee, and to label all covered items with the manufacturer’s brand. It will be illegal to sell or offer for sale any covered items made by manufacturers who are not registered or are otherwise not in full compliance with the law’s requirements. DEP will maintain a list of manufacturers who are in compliance. Retailers will also be required to post information provided by DEP about how and where to recycle televisions and computers.

The act directs DEP to collect information on recycling rates and to prepare a plan every three years that establishes collection and recycling goals and identifies steps that need to be taken to improve the program. DEP will also prepare annual reports.

Expect more details about this complicated and ambitious effort to emerge over the next year. Recognizing its complexity and wide-ranging effects, Governor Corzine asked the bill’s sponsors and DEP to work together in order “to further craft and refine this measure” to address such concerns.