April 1, 2008
Chairman H.S. Buddy Garcia
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087
Dear Chairman Garcia:
I understand that the Commission will be voting this week to adopt rules to implement House Bill 2714, or the Manufacturer Responsibility and Consumer Convenience Computer Equipment Collection and Recovery Act, that I sponsored in the Senate last session. I would like to ask the Commission to consider one recommendation with respect to the draft rules.
It is my understanding that the groups I worked most closely with on this legislation during the legislative session — Texas Campaign for the Environment and Dell, Inc. — both share my concern with respect to the standards set out in the draft rules for ensuring that recyclers adhere to sound environmental management of the discarded equipment. The draft rules adopt the recycling standards of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) which are voluntary standards. My concern is that by adopting voluntary standards the regulation will not have the “teeth” to ensure that electronics are recycled responsibly.
Therefore, I request that the Commission consider adopting Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Plug-In to eCycling Guidelines” as the standard for sound environmental management in our state electronic recycling law. By requiring recycling to be done in accordance with the laws of any importing or transit country, the EPA guidelines go further than the ISRI standards in ensuring that discarded equipment is not illegally exported or dumped in a foreign country.
The following language would be sufficient to address this concern:
The covered electronics shall be recycled in a manner that is in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances, and shall not be exported for disposal in a manner that poses a significant risk to the public health or to the environment.
The producers shall, at a minimum, demonstrate compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Plug-In to eCycling Guidelines for Materials Management as issued and available on said agency’s Internet web site in addition to any other requirements mandated by state or federal law.
As you probably know, the primary goal of H.B. 2417 was to adopt a regulatory framework that would place responsibility for recycling in the hands of the producer and encourage producers to take “end of life” factors into account during the manufacturing process, and thereby, provide an incentive to design and produce reusable, recyclable, and environmentally conscious products. That goal is not served if the regulations recyclers are not required to exercise sound environmental management. It is my request that the Commission examine the draft rules closely with respect to this issue.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.