The State of Maine’s recycling law for electronics waste has come into effect. The law requires electronics manufacturers to pay the cost of recycling computer monitors and old TV sets generated by the residential sector. The Maine system works as follows: Municipalities collect the used electronics (“e-waste”), then deliver them to in-state consolidation facilities. At these facilities, electronics manufacturers handle and recycle their own branded products. The manufacturers then share the cost of recycling and orphaned products.
People interested in e-waste product stewardship in Canada are watching the development of the Maine system closely, as it will potentially demonstrate a model for Canadian jurisdictions. Unlike some programs in which full responsibility is passed off by the manufacturers to a stewardship body that sets separate fees, the advantage of Maine’s system is that manufacturers have a direct connection in paying for the recycling of their specific products, so they have an incentive in making their products more easily recyclable. Maine’s system also deals with the portion of e-waste for which no brand owner can be identified.