PA 07-189—sHB 7249

Environment Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Appropriations Committee

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COLLECTION AND RECYCLING OF COVERED ELECTRONIC DEVICES

SUMMARY: This act creates a mandatory recycling program for discarded computers and televisions. Starting January 1, 2009, manufacturers must participate in a program to implement and finance the collection, transportation, and recycling of these covered electronic devices (CEDs). They may participate in the statewide program or a private program.

It requires each CED manufacturer to register with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and pay an annual registration fee, which DEP must use to administer the program. Each registered manufacturer also must pay recyclers the reasonable costs of transporting and recycling its CEDs. The act sets a maximum transportation and recycling reimbursement rate of 50 cents per pound.

The act prohibits, with some exceptions, retailers from selling CEDs manufactured by noncompliant manufacturers. It requires municipalities to provide for the convenient recycling of CEDs generated within their borders and arrange for bringing CEDs to DEP-approved recyclers.

The act prohibits, starting January 1, 2011, anyone (1) from knowingly discarding a CED at a solid waste disposal facility other than a transfer station, and (2) charging a fee to state residents bringing seven or fewer CEDs to a collector (apparently a transfer station or solid waste hauler) at any one time.

It creates two separate, nonlapsing accounts within the Environmental Quality Fund. DEP must use funds from the (1) “electronic device recycling program account” to carry out the act's provisions and (2) “covered electronic recycler reimbursement account” to reimburse recyclers for their unpaid qualified expenses.

The commissioner must adopt regulations to implement the act. The regulations must include provisions establishing (1) annual registration and reasonable fees for administering the program; (2) a process for approving recyclers; (3) a table of qualified reimbursable costs for recyclers; (4) standards for the operation, accounting, and auditing of recyclers; (5) a list of CEDs not limited to those the act specifies, such as printers; and (6) any other requirements needed to carry out the act. The commissioner may help create and implement a regional, multi-state organization or compact to help carry out its provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007, except for the provision requiring DEP to adopt regulations, which takes effect July 1, 2007, and the provision allowing the commissioner to take part in a regional organization or compact, which takes effect upon passage.

RECYCLING PROGRAM BASICS

Covered Electronic Devices

The act applies to (1) devices with video displays larger than four inches when measured diagonally, including desktop and laptop computers, and their central processing units; cathode ray tube (CRT) and other types of computer monitors that do not contain tuners; CRT and other types of televisions; and similar or peripheral electronic devices.

Excluded Products

The act excludes devices that are:

1. motor vehicle components or parts;

2. functionally or physically part of equipment used in an industrial, commercial, or medical setting;

3. contained in an appliance;

4. telephones (unless they have a video display larger than four inches diagonally);

5. handheld devices used for commercial mobile radio service as defined by federal law (e. g. , cell phones and pagers); and

6. portable handheld calculators, portable digital assistants and similar devices, and automated typewriters and typesetters.

Manufacturers and Retailers

Under the act, manufacturers are firms that make or made devices under their own brand, a brand they license, or without a brand; or resell under their own brand a device made by others. Manufacturers also include retailers who sell devices under their own names; and importers, exporters, distributors, and others.

The act defines retail sales as sales made in stores, over the Internet, by mail order, and by other means, regardless of whether the seller has a physical presence in the state. The act does not cover leases.

REGISTRATION AND RECYCLING FEES

Starting January 1, 2008, manufacturers (1) can sell only devices clearly and permanently labeled with the manufacturer's brand, (2) must register annually with DEP, and (3) must pay DEP the appropriate yearly registration fee. The act sets the 2008 registration fee at $5,000 for each manufacturer that sold more than 100 CEDs in 2007, apparently in Connecticut. The commissioner must deposit the registration fees in the electronic device recycling program account the act creates to cover the program's administrative costs.

On or after January 1, 2008, each registered manufacturer that has not sold CEDs in the state before that date must pay the initial $5,000 registration fee. In addition, these firms must pay a fee equivalent to the greater of (1) 1% of the prior year's total share of orphan CEDs, expressed in pounds, multiplied by 50 cents, or (2) $1,000. (Under the act, an orphan device is a CED for which no manufacturer can be identified, or one made by a manufacturer that is no longer in business or has no successor in interest. ) The commissioner must deposit the additional fee in the covered electronics recycler reimbursement account to reimburse recyclers for unpaid qualified expenses they incur. She must deposit the initial $5,000 registration fee in the electronic device recycling account to cover administrative costs.

Starting January 1, 2009, all manufacturers must pay an annual registration renewal fee the commissioner determines according to regulations she must adopt by October 1, 2008. The regulations must set annual registration fees and reasonable fees to administer the recycling program. DEP must base the registration fee on (1) the cost of administering the program and (2) a sliding scale representing a particular manufacturer's share of CEDs sold in the state. The state must base this market share data on available national market share information. Under the act, market share is a manufacturer's national sales of CEDs, expressed as a percentage of the total of all manufacturers' national sales for a category of CEDs, based on publicly available data. The fees the commissioner sets must cover, but not exceed, her costs to implement the program, including educational and outreach costs.

DEP may review the registration and recycling fees at a public hearing as necessary.

DEP LIST OF COMPLYING MANUFACTURERS

Starting June 1, 2009, the commissioner must post and maintain on the DEP website a list of manufacturers who comply with the act. The act requires retailers to consult this list before selling a CED and bars them from selling a CED made by a noncompliant manufacturer. But a retailer may sell such a CED if it ordered it when the manufacturer was listed as compliant. A retailer also may sell any CEDs ordered or in stock when the commissioner first posted the list, regardless of whether the CED is listed, until six months after the initial posting or December 1, 2009, whichever is earlier.

PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITY

Municipal Responsibility

Starting January 1, 2009, each municipality must provide for the recycling of CEDs generated within its borders in a manner emphasizing convenience and accessibility. Municipalities that participate in a regional recycling program may participate in the statewide program through the regional authority. Each municipality or regional authority must provide for the collection of CEDs from residents within the municipality or region, arrange for transportation of collected CEDs to a recycler, and inform residents of the time and place that CEDs will be collected.

Recyclers' Responsibility

Starting January 1, 2009, each recycler must:

1. cooperate with any municipality or regional authority to provide CED collection and transportation services,

2. reimburse a municipality or regional authority for eligible transportation costs,

3. recycle all collected CEDs according to minimum standards the commissioner establishes,

4. maintain a written log identifying responsible manufacturers by the brand and weight of each CED delivered to the recycler and identified as generated by a Connecticut household,

5. report to the commissioner any manufacturer behind on its payments for more than 90 days, and

6. file a plan to carry out the provisions of this section.

Recyclers must bill manufacturers quarterly for the reasonable costs of transporting and recycling for which the manufacturer is responsible. Recyclers must calculate the costs on a per-pound basis up to 50 cents per pound, or the amount set by regulation.

The act does not prevent a registered manufacturer from recycling its own CEDs by agreeing to have a recycler return the CEDs to it for recycling, provided the manufacturer verifies to the commissioner that the CEDs are being recycled according to the act, and the manufacturer reimburses the recycler for its eligible costs.

Manufacturers' Responsibility

Starting January 1, 2009, manufacturers must participate in a program to implement and finance the collection, transportation, and recycling of CEDs. They may take part in a private recycling plan.

Also starting January 1, 2009, each manufacturer must pay a recycler's reasonable costs of transportation and recycling for (1) the CEDs attributed to the manufacturer and (2) the manufacturer's pro rata share of recycled orphan devices. A manufacturer determines its share of orphan devices by dividing its CED market share for the preceding calendar year by the total market share of all registered manufacturers for the same year, multiplied by the total pounds of orphan devices returned. Pro rata shares of orphan devices must be calculated separately for computer-related CEDs and for televisions. Computer and television manufacturers are only responsible for the pro rata share of the type of CED each produces.

The commissioner may suspend any manufacturer that is more than 90 days behind in its payments. A suspended manufacturer seeking reinstatement must first demonstrate it has (1) made all past-due payments and (2) paid a penalty equal to 10% of its past-due payments. The commissioner must (1) deposit the penalty in the covered electronic recycler reimbursement account and (2) use it to pay recyclers for unpaid qualified expenses. A recycler seeking reimbursement must certify to the commissioner that his expenses are eligible for repayment. The commissioner must reimburse recyclers to the extent funds are available.

Private Recycling Plan

A manufacturer may take part in a private recycling plan that complies with the act. Starting January 1, 2009, manufacturers taking part in a private plan must file a description of the plan with their annual registration. The description must include:

1. the methods used to collect the CEDs, including the names and locations of all collection and consolidation points;

2. the processes and methods used to recycle recovered CEDs, including a description of the disassembly and physical recovery operation (such as crushing, shredding, grinding, or glass-to-glass recycling); and

3. the names and locations of all recycling facilities used.

The plan also must include descriptions of the means of publicizing collection opportunities and the total weight of CEDs collected, transported, and recycled in the previous year. It must contain documentation of audits of each processor the plan uses, and proof of compliance with processing standards the act sets.

POSTING RECYCLING INFORMATION

Starting July 1, 2010, retailers selling CEDs must provide consumers with information provided by DEP, including a toll-free telephone number and an Internet website. The information must be clearly written and either included in the CED's packaging or accompany its sale. Manufacturers taking part in private CED recycling programs must make information about the programs readily available to their CED retailers.

RECYCLING PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS AND ENFORCEMENT

Starting January 1, 2009, all CEDs must be recycled according to applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances, and must not be exported for disposal in a way that poses a significant risk to public health or the environment.

The commissioner must establish performance requirements for collectors, transporters, and recyclers to be eligible to receive DEP funds. All such entities must comply with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's Plug-In to eCycling Guidelines for Materials Management and any other federal or state requirements.

Starting January 1, 2009, the act authorizes the commissioner to order anyone violating the act to cease and desist, and, following a hearing, to suspend or revoke a registration for cause. The act authorizes (1) the attorney general to file a civil action in any judicial district affected by a violation, and (2) courts to grant restraining orders and temporary and permanent injunctive relief needed to secure compliance.

7 — RECYCLING PLAN REPORTS

By October 1, 2010 and every three years thereafter, the commissioner must prepare an electronics recycling plan that sets statewide per-capita collection and recycling goals and identifies any actions needed to achieve them. It must post the plan on its website and submit it to the Environment Committee.

Also by October 1, 2010 and annually thereafter, the commissioner must gather information from registered manufacturers and prepare a report on the status of the recycling program. The commissioner must also submit this report to the Environment Committee. The report must include enough data to enable the commissioner to analyze the program's effectiveness. It also must include information on the adoption of any federal electronic waste recycling law that meets or exceeds the act's provisions.

9 — DISPOSAL BAN

Starting January 1, 2011, the act prohibits anyone, including individuals, firms, and government agencies, from knowingly discarding a device or its component or subassembly in any solid waste facility except a transfer station. A solid waste facility owner or operator will not be found to have violated the act if he or she (1) made a good faith effort to comply, (2) conspicuously posted at the facility a sign stating that the facility cannot accept CEDs and their components, and (3) notified in writing all collectors registered to haul solid waste to the facility that it cannot accept CEDs or their components.

BACKGROUND

Solid Waste Facilities and Transfer Stations

By law, a solid waste facility is a solid waste disposal area, volume reduction plant, transfer station, wood-burning facility, or biomedical waste treatment facility. A transfer station is a location or structure, whether located on land or water, where more than 10 cubic yards of solid waste generated elsewhere may be stored for transfer or transferred from transportation units and placed in other transportation units for movement to another location, whether or not such waste is stored at the location prior to transfer (CGS 22a-207).

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