Washington State Adopts New Rules for Electronics Recycling

The Washington state Department of Ecology has adopted new rules that establish how a manufacturer-funded electronics recycling program will work and how it will be enforced, officials announced on Oct. 9.

Manufacturers of televisions and computers must write plans describing how these companies will provide collection services throughout the state. The manufacturers have until Feb. 1, 2008, to submit plans to Ecology for approval. The plans must be fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2009.

The new rules include requirements for how the program must be operated. The new recycling services are to be provided at no charge to households, small businesses, small governments, school districts and charitable organizations. These customers will be informed, at the collection site, where and how their unwanted electronic products will be recycled.

Electronic products contain rare and valuable metals that are in short supply. "By recycling these products, we reduce the impacts of mining in developing countries where safe, environmentally sound standards are not always practiced," said Jay Shepard, Ecology's electronics recycling project manager.

Electronic products also contain heavy metals and other chemicals at hazardous levels that make them difficult to dispose safely. For example, every cathode ray picture tube contains an estimated four pounds to eight pounds of lead.

For more information, visit http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/eproductrecycle/index.html.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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