NJ Facing Pileup of Electronic Waste
Please act NOW
Many New Jersey counties have recently suspended their electronic waste collection programs due to problems related to implementation of the state’s Electronic Waste Management Act. The system that provides for free drop-offs of computers, monitors and TVs is quickly deteriorating, and some environmental commissions are finding that they will not be able to host their annual e-waste collections in 2016. Pending legislation (A-2375/S981) is aimed at restoring New Jersey’s system of collecting and recycling e-waste.
To learn more about how this situation is affecting, or will affect, your community, see the background information (at right) and the sample letter (below) to legislators regarding proposed amendments to the Electronic Waste Management Act.
ANJEC urges governing bodies and environmental commissions to contact their State representatives and tell them about the urgent need to get New Jersey’s electronic waste recycling systems back on track.
SAMPLE LANGUAGE FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION OR MUNICIPAL GOVERNING BODY LETTER URGING STATE REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT E-WASTE BILL – customize as appropriate for your town, adding information about impacts or concerns specific to your town or situation.
Dear Senator/Assemblyman (woman) ____________
We are writing to inform you of a serious situation that is occurring in New Jersey’s towns and counties. Problems related to implementation of New Jersey’s Electronic Waste Management Act (NJSA 13:1E-99.94 et seq), compounded by the Governor’s pocket veto of proposed revisions (A-4763) to the law in late 2015 have resulted in the recent shutdown of over half of the counties’ e-waste collection programs across the state. Municipal e-waste collections that were tied to county programs, such as our Environmental Commission’s annual e-waste collection day, are also now halted. Many free e-waste collections by retailers have shut down or (like Best Buy) are charging a fee for items, some rather steep, and not accepting equipment over a certain size.
As you know, it is illegal to dispose of televisions, computers and monitors in the regular trash stream, due to the hazardous materials contained in these products. Without the retail and county free collection programs, e-waste is piling up and a trend toward illegal dumping has begun. This is bad for the environment and the quality of life in our community. Residents have become accustomed to disposing of e-waste properly because of the availability of convenient, free drop-off locations, and will be shocked to learn that this system has collapsed. They have few good options at this point.
The Senate and Assembly have picked up the bill the Governor vetoed, and it is again making its way through committees as A-2375/S-981. This bill will fix some of the provisions in the law that have allowed manufacturers of e-waste to shirk their obligation to support the safe disposal of the products they produce.
Our Environmental Commission/Borough/Township urges your active support for A-2375/S-981, to get New Jersey’s e-waste collection system back in order quickly. We are anxious to re-institute our e-waste collection day, and to inform our residents that they can properly dispose of computers and televisions responsibly once again. We also ask that you help the Governor’s office understand the importance of this bill to New Jersey’s communities, and urge him to sign the bill immediately once it passes the Legislature.
Thank you for your support.
New Jersey e-Waste Programs Facing Elimination
New Jersey’s Electronic Waste Management Act requires manufacturers that sell their electronic products in New Jersey to develop and fund programs that provide convenient, free recycling of televisions, computers and monitors. It is illegal to dispose of these items, which often contain toxic materials, in the regular trash stream. Many counties and municipal environmental commissions host free collection stations or collection events that have, in the past, been supported by manufacturer recycling contracts. Residents have come to value and rely on this service.
Over time, some manufacturers have looked for ways to minimize or avoid their obligations under the e-Waste law, and in the past few years they have had increasing success. This is affecting the ability of counties and municipalities to offer free collection events.
AS OF JANUARY, THIRTEEN COUNTIES HAVE ABANDONED E-WASTE RECYCLING, OR OPTED TO PAY THE COST OF HIRING PRIVATE RECYCLERS TO CONTINUE THEIR PROGRAMS. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONS ARE LEARNING THAT THEIR COUNTIES NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO FREE DISPOSAL OF E-WASTE, AND THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HOST COLLECTION EVENTS AS THEY HAVE IN THE PAST.
Material is piling up at various collection sites, as well as at homes. Also, some retailers such as Best Buy are now charging a fee to collect televisions and computers, not accepting equipment over a certain size, or limiting their collection in other ways.
In late 2015, Governor Christie pocket vetoed A-4763, a bill that would have reformed some provisions of the e-Waste law to get the recycling programs back on track. NJDEP was in support of the bill, as was the Association of NJ Recyclers and a majority of the Senate and Assembly. The Legislature is now reconsidering the bill (concurrent versions in both the Assembly A-2375 and Senate S-981) for 2016 in hopes of bringing it to a vote again in the near future.
If your town and commission are concerned about the lack of e-waste recycling and potential harmful disposal of hazardous and toxic e-wastes, contact your NJ representatives to tell them how you feel (see sample letter left).
Explain the effects on your community, your county and your taxes as the free programs disappear. Also send a copy of your letter to the Governor’s office, as his signature is needed for the bill to go into effect after it passes both houses of the Legislature.
NJ Legislature - www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp – Click on “Find Your Legislator” for Assembly and Senate representatives’ contact information for your town.
Governor Chris Christie: Office of the Governor, PO Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625
To submit a message through the Governor’s website: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/contact/
To read A-2375 or S-981, search for the bills by number on the NJ Legislature website www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/bills0001.asp “Bills 2016-2017”
Please explain this problem to your municipal officials and residents, and encourage them to write to their representatives, too.