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[greenyes] Maine e-waste bill signed into law

May 3, 2004
Contact: David Wood, 608-347-7043
Jon Hinck, 207-622-3101, ext 212

Maine adopts landmark law giving computer and television manufacturers
responsibility for managing discarded products

Madison, WI - Maine becomes the first state in the country to adopt a
law giving manufacturers of computer monitors and televisions
responsibility for managing discarded products, under a law signed by
Governor John Baldacci. Without fanfare and with little public
attention, the bill was signed into law on Earth Day.

"The absence of public attention to Governor Baldacci signing LD1892
into law belies the significance of what Maine has done, taking the lead
here in the U.S. to address the growing problem of electronic waste and
hold the manufacturers primarily responsible for the costs of managing
these products at the end of their useful life," says David Wood,
Executive Director of the GrassRoots Recycling Network (
<> ) and organizing director of the Computer
TakeBack Campaign (
<> ). "The opponents of comprehensive
reform can no longer say there is no U.S. precedent for giving
manufacturers responsibility for their waste," continues Wood.

The law requires manufacturers of computer monitors, video display
devices and televisions to establish and finance a system for the
environmentally responsible re-use and recycling of discarded products,
establishing a framework within which consumers and local governments
share in the responsibility for operating an effective and convenient
collection system.

"Maine's new law results from the hard work and cooperation of leading
environmental organizations and local governments in state, as well as
the active support of industry leading companies like Hewlett-Packard,"
says Jon Hinck of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (
<> ). "Our coalition was able to maintain a strong
bill despite the aggressive opposition from companies like IBM,
Panasonic, Apple and others. Our immediate challenge is to ensure that
the law remains strong and implementation is not delayed by the efforts
of companies who resist the idea of producer responsibility," continues
NRCM's Hinck.

Maine is one of a dozen states in which the Computer TakeBack Campaign
is working with state advocates to advance the principle of producer
responsibility as the most comprehensive solution to the e-waste
problem, addressing the environmental and human health threats posed by
hazardous electronics without relying on already scarce taxpayer
dollars. Similar producer responsibility proposals are still pending in
Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The Campaign is also working
with market share leaders Hewlett-Packard and Dell to create
market-based reforms that advance producer responsibility.

The Maine law gives manufacturers of computer monitors and televisions
responsibility for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of their
products sold in Maine, as well as a proportionate share of old products
entering the waste stream for which the manufacturer is no longer in
business. The law gives manufacturers the flexibility to design and
implement collection and recycling systems that best suit their
individual business model, and permits two or more manufacturers to join
together to accomplish the requirements of the bill.

Consumers and local governments play important roles in the collection
and recycling of discarded products under Maine's law, by establishing
and utilizing consolidation facilities that are to be geographically
located so as to conveniently serve residents throughout the state.

"Maine's new law strikes an important balance, holding manufacturers
primarily responsible for establishing and financing e-waste recycling
for state residents, while recognizing that consumers, retailers, local
governments and other business sectors share in the overall
effectiveness of the system," says NRCM's Jon Hinck.

The Computer TakeBack Campaign is a coordinated national effort
promoting producer responsibility as the comprehensive solution to the
problem of discarded computers, televisions and consumer electronics and
the hazardous materials used in their manufacture. Organizations leading
the Campaign include Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (
<> ), GrassRoots Recycling Network, Texas Campaign
for the Environment, Clean Production Action, Clean Water Action,
Natural Resources Council of Maine, Environmental Health Strategies
Center, Center for Environmental Health, and Washington Citizens for
Resource Conservation.

David Wood
Executive Director, GrassRoots Recycling Network
Organizing Director, Computer TakeBack Campaign
210 N. Bassett St., Suite 200
Madison WI 53703
608-255-4800, ext. 100
608-347-7043 (cell)

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