The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) has released a consensus framework that is intended to pave the way for federal legislation establishing a national program for recycling household TVs and information technology products such as computers and monitors. The EIA’s Environmental Issues Council, which includes companies such as HP, Lenovo, Panasonic and Sharp, approved the plan, and EIA officials have delivered copies to the Bush Administration, key lawmakers on Capital Hill, state officials, industry stakeholders and environmental advocacy organizations.
The framework calls for a bifurcated financing approach, separating TVs from desktop computers, laptops and computer monitors to reflect their divergent business models, market composition and consumer base. TVs have an expected lifecycle of 15 to 17 years and are purchased by individual consumers from retailers. News entrants can rapidly gain a significant share of the market only to disappear a few years later.
Under the EIA proposal, TV collection and recycling would be primarily conducted by an industry-sponsored third party organization and initially supported by a nominal fee paid by consumers at the point of purchase. The fee would eventually expire once a significant number of legacy sets are recovered.
IT equipment has an expected lifecycle of six to eight years and is more often sold directly to the consumer. The EIA proposal calls for each producer of IT equipment to implement a program to collect and recycle its products in a manner that is convenient for household consumers and at no cost to them. IT manufacturers would have to offer such a program as a condition of conducting business.
All programs, whether for TVs or IT equipment, will have to ensure that they rely solely on service providers that satisfy established environmentally sound management standards and related business practices. EIA is one of numerous stakeholders actively participating in an effort being facilitated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop best management practices for electronics recyclers.
“This policy framework is the culmination of extensive industry dialogue and negotiation,” says Rick Goss, EIA’s VP of environmental affairs. “Across the board, manufacturers made concessions to produce this consensus agreement. We sincerely hope that other stakeholders will be motivated by the same spirit of compromise as we seek a uniform recycling program that our country wants and needs.”
EIA’s interim president and CEO, Mike Flanigan, adds, “This framework represents the first consensus agreement among IT and TV manufacturers on meeting the nation’s electronics recycling challenge. We’re offering these ideas to advance the work of Senator Ron Wyden, Representatives Mike Thompson, Mary Bono, Louise Slaughter, Zach Wamp, Albert Wynn and so many others seeking a national solution.