04-R 362

2004 -- H 7527 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 06/25/04

 

H O U S E R E S O L U T I O N

RESPECTFULLY URGING THE MERCURY REDUCTION OVERSIGHT COMMISSION TO

PREVENT MERCURY POLLUTION FROM ELECTRONIC WASTE

     

     

     Introduced By: Representatives Handy, McNamara, Naughton, Cerra, and Long

     Date Introduced: February 04, 2004

 

 

     WHEREAS, The Mercury Reduction Oversight Commission has the mission to prevent

human sources of mercury from contaminating the environment (air, water, soil); and

     WHEREAS, The Mercury Reduction and Education Act prohibits the disposal of

mercury-added products by means other than recycling or hazardous waste disposal as of July

2005; and

     WHEREAS, Computers, cell phones and other electronic products contain mercury as

well as lead, chromium, cadmium, polyvinyl chloride, mixed plastics, beryllium, brominated

flame retardants and other hazardous substances, and therefore pose a threat to human health and

the environment if improperly disposed of at the end of their useful life; and

     WHEREAS, Electronic waste (e-waste) is a significant and growing problem for

governments that currently bear the burden of managing them; and

     WHEREAS, According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 1997

more than 3.2 million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills; and

     WHEREAS, Discarded e-waste is the fastest growing portion of the United States waste

stream; and

     WHEREAS, The Central Landfill in Johnston, Rhode Island is the final resting place for

Rhode Island's discarded e-waste and recycling it would conserve needed landfill capacity; and

     WHEREAS, In Rhode Island, over 4 million computers, televisions, and monitors will

become trash by 2011; and

     WHEREAS, Costs for collecting and properly recycling 95% of this e-waste will cost

Rhode Islanders an estimated $42 million from 2006 2011; and

     WHEREAS, The full extent of the public health threat and environmental contamination

resulting from electronic equipment entering the waste stream through disposal into landfills or

incinerators is unknown, but it is estimated that seventy percent of the heavy metals in municipal

landfills come from electronic discards; and

     WHEREAS, An effective electronics recycling system must be convenient and minimize

costs to taxpayers and to consumers of electronic products; and

     WHEREAS, Producers of electronic products and components should be responsible for

ensuring proper handling, recycling and disposal of discarded products and that costs associated

with consolidation, handling and recycling be internalized by the manufacturers of electronic

products and components before the point of purchase; and

     WHEREAS, A system of producer responsibility for the collection and recycling of

covered electronic devices is the most effective and equitable means of keeping this toxic waste

out of the landfill, alleviating the full financial and physical burden placed on the state and local

governments for handling e-waste, while also providing a powerful incentive for manufacturers to

reduce toxins and redesign products for recycling; and

     WHEREAS, Producers of electronic devices and components should have the flexibility

to act in partnership with each other, with state, municipal and regional governments and with

businesses that provide collection and handling services to develop, implement and promote a

safe and effective electronics recycling system for the state; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby respectfully urges the Mercury Reduction Oversight Commission

to develop a plan to address the collection and recycling of electronic waste in a manner that is

convenient and minimizes costs to taxpayers and to consumers of electronic products; and be it

further

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby respectfully urges the Mercury Reduction Oversight Commission

to submit to the general assembly no later than January 30, 2005 a recommended plan, including

any legislation necessary to implement the plan, for the collection and recycling of electronic

waste that utilizes producer responsibility; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Chair of the Mercury Reduction Oversight

Commission and all of the commission members.

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LC01299/SUB A

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