DENVER (CBS4) – Some Colorado lawmakers want to regulate recyclers so residents know exactly where the used parts go.
A bill introduced at the Capitol Wednesday would also hold manufacturers responsible for making sure their products are recycled. The bill is aimed at keeping toxic e-waste out of landfills.
Colorado produces more than 50 tons of electronic garbage or e-waste every year, but only recycles 16 percent. Some is stored, but the rest is dumped in landfills in the U.S. and overseas.
A “60 Minutes” investigation uncovered e-waste from a Colorado recycler in China.
“I’ve been working on this issue several years in Colorado legislature,” said Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins.
Fischer says its time manufacturers of electronics do more to promote responsible recycling of their products. He’s introduced a bill that would require companies like Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard to recycle a percentage of their market share in Colorado.
“(It’s) ultimately getting to the point where we could implement a ban on landfill disposal of this equipment,” Fischer said.
“The big issue with this bill is the cost implications for industry,” Devin Whitney with Tech America said.
Whitney represents 1,200 high-tech companies nationwide. He says they already offer free recycling programs. He says putting the onus on manufacturers to meet a recycling quota is unreasonable.
“That provision is predicated on an assumption that we as manufacturers can somehow control the behavior of consumers,” Whitney said.
“We expect electronic manufacturers to be good corporate citizens and step up and take responsibility and help consumers deal with this growing problem,” Fischer said. “I think it’s actually very reasonable given the fact that 24 other states implemented similar regulations.”
The bill would also require recyclers be registered and licensed with the state to help prevent illegal smuggling and dumping.
Environmental groups are backing the bill and business interests are trashing it. Without bipartisan support it will likely be scrapped in committee.
There would be incentives for manufacturers to use those in-state recyclers. The bill contains incentives to create local recycling jobs in Colorado.
The bill goes before the Health and Environment Committee Thursday.