National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative Signed

Washington, D.C. -- Several electronics manufacturers, government agencies and environmental groups have 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.

Most likely, the cost will be factored in to the initial cost of the product to consumers. Current programs operated by companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Best Buy generally charge about $30 or less.

The plan also calls for the development of an action plan that would establish federal legislation to enforce the law and steps to be taken during the transition period.

The initiative also aims to have a more detailed and nationwide system developed by the end of the year. And by September, the NEPSI hopes to address the issue of a better way to handle electronic waste, or e-waste, whic currently is being shipped overseas.

But according to some environmentalists, although it is a step forward, several issues were not addressed. Specifically, the agreement does not include the timeframe for and assurance of implementation; whether it can provide incentives for product design; how to make the system convenient for consumers; and how the costs and responsibilities for collection, re-use and recycling will be shared among producers, retailers, consumers and governments.