E-players are still very much at odds on the right approach

Jul 30, 2008 | 01:30 PM |

When electronic product manufacturers' weigh-in on the subject of a federal electronics recycling program, their oppinions are as diverse as those they hold on state- and company-based programs.

"I believe it is critical for manufacturers to offer their customers free recycling solutions for the products they manufacture," Bryant A. Hilton, a spokesman for Dell Inc., Round Rock, Texas, said. "Dell believes that a combination of free and convenient options for consumers, a focus on consumer awareness about the importance of recycling and industry innovation will increase electronics recycling rates over time."

Most electronics makers agree that consumer convenience is of utmost importance when it comes to electronics recycling.

"What we would like to do is make recycling as easy as purchasing electronic products. It is only if we get to that point that we will be successful," said Doug Smith, director of corporate environmental affairs at Sony Electronics Inc., San Diego.

But the consensus seems to break down when it comes to whether e-cycling should be administered under one federally mandated program or a continuation of the current patchwork.

Frank Marella, senior manager of corporate environmental affairs at Sharp Electronics Corp., Mahwah, N.J., said he would prefer a federal program, but questions whether that is politically feasible. Of the various state programs already established and others pending, no two programs are identical, making it very difficult for manufacturers to meet all the requirements imposed upon them. "The only way to have a uniform program is to have a federal law that would supersede all the existing state laws, and I don't think that will happen. None of the congressmen from those states would vote for such legislation," Marella said. Some people want to get around that by making it part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), "but one argument for not doing that is that RCRA is very complex and if it is revised people will come out of the woodwork to change other parts of the law as well."....

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