§ 23-24.9-2. Findings.
The general assembly has found and hereby declares that:
(1) Mercury is a persistent and toxic pollutant that bioaccumulates in the environment;
(2) Mercury deposition has proven to be a significant problem in the northeastern United States;
(3) Consumption of mercury-contaminated freshwater fish poses a significant public health threat to the residents of Rhode Island;
(4) In order to address these real threats to public health and the environment, the state has been, and should continue to, actively cooperate with other states in the region to help minimize harm resulting from mercury in food, soil, air, and water;
(5) According to a 2004 study by the U.S. environmental protection agency titled "International Mercury Market Study and the Role and Impact of U.S. Environmental Policy," more than ten percent (10%) of the estimated mercury reservoir in the United States is in thermostats;
(6) In 1998, thermostat manufacturers, General Electric, Honeywell, and White Rodgers established the thermostat recycling corporation "(TRC)," a non-profit corporation to facilitate recycling of mercury thermostats nationwide. The TRC originally operated solely through wholesalers but has since expanded to enable collection by contractors, household hazardous waste facilities, and retailers. The TRC is a voluntary program in all states, but several states require wholesalers to act as collection points for waste mercury thermostats. Participation in the TRC is likely the simplest, least-cost means of complying;
(7) The manufacturers of mercury-containing thermostats, with the cooperation of the department, should be encouraged to submit a single, unified plan for the collection of mercury-containing thermostats, the cost of which should be appropriately apportioned between participating manufacturers;
(8) The manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps, with the cooperation of the corporation in collaboration with the department, should be encouraged to submit a single, unified plan for the collection of mercury-containing lamps, the cost of which should be appropriately apportioned between participating manufacturers; and
(9) The intent of this chapter is to achieve significant reductions in environmental mercury by encouraging the establishment of effective waste reduction, recycling, management, and education programs.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 234, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 318, § 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.)