[GRRN] Mass. Santa Calls for Computer EPR

Bill Sheehan (bill_sheehan@mindspring.com)
Wed, 29 Dec 1999 12:24:05 -0500

by Kay Lazar

Boston Herald
Tuesday, December 28, 1999

With Bay State consumers throwing out more garbage
than ever before - and the state running out of room to
put the stuff - an environmental group is pushing for
new state regulations that would require electronics
manufacturers to take back their used products.
``The financial responsibility should be borne by the
manufacturers,'' said John McNabb, solid waste policy
director for the Mass. Coalition to Reduce Waste.

``Massachusetts is one of the leaders in setting up
programs to get computers and electronics out of the
waste stream. But your tax dollars in your city or town
are paying for this disposal or recycling,'' McNabb said.
``What we're saying is, the manufacturers should be
doing it.''

To underscore their point, environmentalists yesterday
dressed as Santa to collect used electronics that
normally end up in landfills and incinerators.

Come April 1, 2000, Massachusetts will become the
first state to ban the dumping or incineration of TVs
and computer monitors, which contain lead and other

The state has paid for some pilot programs to collect the
items, but most of the cost has been shouldered by
communities and taxpayers.

Landfill space is harder to come by and burning
electronics in a garbage incinerator can release toxic
compounds - including mercury - into the air.

Yet the electronics industry yesterday said they would
fight any mandates that would require manufacturers to
shoulder collection and recycling costs.

``We fully support increased recycling, and
manufacturers have a role to play,'' said David Isaacs,
of the Electronics Industry Alliance. ``But we think
various actors in the chain - the user, the local
government, the component manufacturers - all have a
role to play.''

A top state official yesterday said Massachusetts is not
likely to force electronics companies to recycle - but
will ask them to consider it.

``We wholeheartedly believe that working with
manufacturers in a voluntary capacity, to have them
take responsibility for the products they manufacture,
will change the way that waste is currently managed
now,'' said Scott Cassel, director of waste policy and
planning at the state's Executive Office of
Environmental Affairs.

``Manufacturers want to do the right thing, for the most
part, as long as they can do it cost-effectively and
without much hassle.''


[Contact John McNabb of Mass. Coalition to
Reduce Waste to obtain a copy of their new report,
Putting Responsibility Where It Belongs
Recommendations for the Massachusetts
Beyond 2000 Solid Waste Master Plan.
-- /bill s.]