Wisconsin is due to see an computer and electronics recycling law introduced into the legislature this month - and all stakeholders have a great opportunity to help shape the language of this text. I'm impressed to hear that the lead author of the bill, Senator Mark Miller, is actively engaging with other legislators, business groups, environmental organizations, processors, municipalities and other states with similar laws on the books to solicit their ideas and get reactions to the proposed language in the bill.
It's clear there's a much stronger interest to get this bill passed this session. During the previous two sessions that Senator Miller brought forth this issue, it barely garnered a small time slot at an Assembly hearing. Things are different this time. It's a workable piece of legislation modeled after successful efforts at other states to expand the opportunities for households to responsibly recycle some of their unwanted electronics at reduced taxpayer expense.
I believe we need to recognize this bill for what it really is - shared responsibility among a large number of stakeholders to provide a solution to the electronics disposal problem. Manufacturers (and their consumers) cover much of the cost of the program. The DNR educates and enforces the law. Municipalities, retailers and other organizations may (though they are not required) to aid in the collection of old electronics from households. Processors and recyclers invest in best practices and independent audits to ensure equipment is handled properly. Individuals bring their old electronics to a collection depot and start the recycling process.
With so many groups involved in the potential implementation of this new program, they ought to get involved in what it entails. We have that opportunity now - but we must act. Tell Senator Miller and your own legislators what you think about banning certain electronics from Wisconsin's landfills and setting up a new system for no/low cost responsible recycling of electronics. We're involved in the conversation and we hope to hear you, as well.