Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 24.9
Mercury Reduction and Education Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-24.9-10

§ 23-24.9-10. Collection of mercury-added products.

(a) After January 1, 2006, no mercury-added product shall be offered for final sale or use or distribution for promotional purposes in Rhode Island unless the manufacturer, either on its own or in concert with other persons, has implemented a system, after review and approval of the corporation in collaboration with the director, for the convenient and accessible collection of such products when the consumer is finished with them. Mercury-added components in motor vehicles shall be collected and recycled as provided for in subdivision (b)(2). Mercury-containing thermostats shall be collected and recycled as provided for in § 23-24.9-10.2. Mercury-containing lamps from covered entities shall be collected and recycled as provided for in subsection (b)(4).

(b)(1) This section shall not apply to the collection of mercury-added button cell batteries or products where the only mercury contained in the product comes from a mercury-added button cell battery; and

(2) Mercury-added components in motor vehicles at end of life shall be collected and recycled as provided in this subsection. Significant, willful failure to comply with rules and/or regulations to implement the provisions of this section shall constitute, as may be determined by the department, a violation of the ban established in § 23-24.9-9. No scrap recycling facility or other person that receives a flattened, crushed, or baled end-of-life vehicle shall be deemed to be in violation of subdivision (b)(2), and rules and regulations pursuant thereto, or § 23-24.9-9 if a mercury switch is found in the vehicle after its acquisition.

For the purposes of subdivision (b)(2), the following terms shall have the following meanings: (i) “Capture rate” means the annual removal, collection, and recovery of mercury switches, as a percentage of the total number of mercury switches available for removal from end-of-life vehicles as determined by the department of environmental management. Capture rate shall not include mercury switches that are inaccessible due to significant damage to the motor vehicle in the area where the mercury switch is located; (ii) “Mercury-added component” or “Mercury switch” means a mercury-added convenience light switch assembly or capsule from an end-of-life motor vehicle; (iii) “Scrap-recycling facility” means a fixed location where machinery and equipment are utilized for processing and manufacturing scrap metal into prepared grades and whose principal product is scrap iron, scrap steel, or nonferrous metallic scrap for sale for remelting purposes; and (iv) “Vehicle recycler” means an individual or entity licensed under the provisions of § 42-14.2-3 that engages in the business of acquiring, dismantling, parts recycling from, or destroying six (6) or more end-of-life vehicles in a calendar year.

(A) Manufacturers of motor vehicles sold in Rhode Island that contain mercury switches shall, individually or collectively, establish and implement a collection program for mercury switches to achieve a capture rate of not less than fifty percent (50%) for calendar year 2006, and not less than seventy percent (70%) for calendar year 2007 and each calendar year thereafter through calendar year 2017.

(B) The department shall develop, issue, administer, and enforce regulation compelling the manufacturers of motor vehicles sold in Rhode Island that contain mercury switches to undertake a collection program as set forth in this subparagraph. The department shall determine that the capture rate in each year of the program and shall assess whether any failure to achieve the capture rate was the result of a force-majeure. The department shall report publicly on or before March 31, each year its findings with regard to the capture rate during the prior year. The manufacturer or manufacturers shall pay the total cost of the removal, replacement, collection, and recovery system for mercury switches under this subparagraph to the vehicle recycler or scrap-recycling facility that removed the switch. The total cost shall include, but not be limited to, a minimum of five dollars ($5.00) for each mercury switch removed by a vehicle recycler or by a scrap-recycling facility, as partial compensation for the labor and other costs incurred in the removal of the mercury switch.

(3) The provisions of subdivision (b)(2) shall satisfy collection programs and disposal requirements for mercury switches for all motor vehicles sold in the state.

(4) Effective January 1, 2020, manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps sold in Rhode Island shall, individually or collectively, establish and implement a statewide collection program, approved by the corporation in collaboration with the department, for the recycling of mercury-containing lamps from covered entities.

(i) The recycling program required under this subsection must include:

(A) Convenient collection locations located throughout the state where mercury-containing lamps from covered entities can be dropped off without cost, including, but not limited to, municipal collection sites and participating retail establishments;

(B) Handling and recycling equipment and practices in compliance with the universal waste rules; and

(C) Effective education and outreach, including, but not limited to, point-of-purchase signs and other materials provided to retail establishments without costs.

(ii) A manufacturer required to implement a statewide collection program under this subsection shall submit its proposed recycling program for review and approval by the corporation in collaboration with the department. The corporation shall solicit public comment on the proposed program before approving or denying the program.

(iii) Beginning January 1, 2020, a manufacturer not in compliance with this section is prohibited from offering any mercury-containing lamp for final sale in the state or distributing any mercury-containing lamp in the state. A manufacturer not in compliance with this section shall provide support to retailers to ensure the manufacturer’s mercury-containing lamps are not offered for sale, sold at final sale, or distributed in the state.

(iv) Beginning January 1, 2020, a retailer may not offer for final sale a mercury-containing lamp produced by a manufacturer not in compliance with this section.

(v) Beginning in 2020, and biennially thereafter, the corporation shall report to the general assembly on any modifications to the manufacturer recycling programs it intends to make to improve mercury-containing lamp recycling rates and any recommendations for statutory changes needed to facilitate mercury-containing lamp collection and recycling.

(vi) Manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps sold in Rhode Island shall individually or collectively enter into an agreement with the corporation to reimburse for reasonable costs directly related to administering the program but not to exceed the cost of one full-time equivalent employee.

History of Section.
P.L. 2001, ch. 234, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 318, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 235, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 328, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 70, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 81, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 266, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 268, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 318, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 507, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 131, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 145, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 143, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 161, § 2.