California Senate Committee Meets on E-Waste

Sacramento – The California Senate Environmental Quality Committee met on Monday and cleared two pieces of electronic waste, or e-waste, legislation with bipartisan support.

S.B. 1523, introduced by Democratic Sen. Byron Sher, would create an advance disposal fee that would go toward setting up a recovery program. S.B. 1619, introduced by Democratic Sen. Gloria Romero, would focus on consumer warnings and labels advising of proper disposal, rates and dates for recovery program efforts.

The legislation comes in response to several studies conducted recently, and adds to the growing proposals by California legislators to handle the e-waste problem. A study commissioned last year by the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), Sacramento, found that Californians are storing approximately 2.9 million televisions, or 74,000 tons, and 3.2 million computer monitors, or 48,000 tons, in their households. Residential survey results indicate that 18.5 percent of California households store their old televisions, while 19.4 percent store old computer monitors.

Another report jointly released by the Basel Action Network (BAN), Seattle, and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), San Jose, Calif., has revealed that huge quantities of hazardous electronic wastes are being exported to China, India and Pakistan, where they are processed in operations that are harmful to human health and the environment.

Additionally, several electronics manufacturers, government agencies and environmental groups recently signed the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI), an agreement that calls for an extended producer responsibility law that would develop a front-end financed system to support the collection, re-use and recycling of used electronic devices.