Thursday, 13 August 2009

New York delays e-waste law

New York's Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act was due to come into force at the end of July, but has been delayed after the US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), and ITAC Systems, Inc. took legal action.

The new law, which was passed in February 2008, requires electronics manufacturers to accept electronic equipment from any person in New York City (NYC) for recycling or reuse. Electronics manufacturers are required to submit an Electronic Waste Management Plan for the collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of covered electronic equipment

The case centres on the fact that NYC is regulating businesses that may have no NYC operations and the costs may be passed on to consumers also outside the city. The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has postpone the introduction of the law pending an injunction decision.

It just shows what a minefield environmental legislation is. On the face of it the law is a good thing, but manufacturers are only likely to go along with it if every city and country around the world introduces legislation at the same time, so there's a level playing field. This is effectively the issue at the Copenhagen conference at the end of the year, with many countries likely to say 'we're not cutting our emissions unless you do too'.

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