State Proposing New E-Waste Fees

KITV - Feb 14, 2012
Catherine Cruz

Lawmakers Consider Fees To Recycle Electronic Devices - State health officials hope to build on the success of a bottle recycling program and expand it to include electronic devices."We are looking for a system to deal with our electronic goods altogether to reclaim the valuable metals that are in them, and handle them in a way that is cost effective and efficient for everyone," said deputy health director Gary Gill.Mike Allwer sold a car stereo at his discount store on Pensacola Tuesday. Under a state plan to charge an e-waste recycling fee he would be collecting extra cash from his customer based on the weight of item.The small business man says he is all for keeping things green and can understand a fee for large appliances and computers."But for small things like a Walkman or a phone, I don?t think it is worth it," said Mike Allwer, of the Discount Appliance Store.State lawmakers are being asked to consider the e-waste fee heard an earful of opposition from other small businesses.Lance Crabbe of Design Systems installs electronic systems in residential homes.This puts an undue burden on a company like ours to track monitor and report and pay under proposed under this bill. We do not need this additional burden at this time,? said Crabbe.A Leeward Oahu recycler turned out to plead his case.Some of the rates they propose at this time, they are not even close to what it costs to do this type of recycling," said Nik Nikolaidis of TNN Computer Recycling Services.A representative of manufacturers and retailers across the country cautioned lawmakers, echoing a sentiment that the proposal was very broad and ambitious.This bilI would expand the current state program in Hawaii and would cover lots more than consumer electronics. It would cover popcorn makers and hair dryers, so there are many other stakeholder that need to be included in the conversation,? said Allison Schumacher of the Consumer Electronics Association.The bill would cover everything from air fresheners that plug into an outlet, to cell phones and computer printers and scanners.The state is proposing initial recycling fees of a dollar for items weighing a pound or less, to $20 for devices weighing 75 pounds or more.The bill is modeled after an e-waste program now in place in Canada. Gill said the system there is operated by private industry. The Hawaii program would have the state run the program.The hope was to start something in 2014, after a year of collecting data on just how much electronic waste is generated in the islands.Mike Gabbard who chairs the senate Energy and Environment committee said he will propose forming a task force to explore the issue. Committee members will vote on the bill Thursday