Florida, others mulling electronics recycling bills

Florida, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and other states are thinking of passing bills that would require people who sell electronics to impose a recycling fee on consumers at the time of purchase, according to a CEO of one of the major recyclers.

The bills are largely based around a bill passed in California that put a $6 to $10 recycling fees on PCs and cell phones, according to John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers. Since then, California has expanded the scope of the policy to include anything that has a power cord coming out of it.

Businesses opposed the California bill, but have now changed their attitude. It’s good PR to be green, Shegerian noted, and it hasn’t killed electronics sales in the state.

And the amount of electronics that get recycled is rising. Sixty-five million pounds of e-waste got recycled in 2005 in California (the state also collected $73 million in recycling fees). That figure will rise to 130 million pounds in 2006.

“E-waste is the fasted growing solid waste stream in the entire world,” he said.

Electronic Recyclers, he added, makes its money two ways. First, the state gives it 48 cents for every pound of e-waste collected. The company has to give 20 cents a pound to collectors.

Second, it sells the raw materials back in the form of plastic and metal to PC and electronics manufacturers.

“We make a profit every month,” he said, a claim most companies that are only a few years old can make.

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