An e-waste dispute in New York City could rely on sanitation workers, according to the U.S.-based Waste Business Journal.
The journal reported that the focus has turned to a proposal that would assign city sanitation workers to collect from e-waste weighing more than 15 pounds directly from homes or curbside. The city would then bill manufacturers for the cost of the pickups as required in an e-waste bill that became law two years ago.
Manufacturers, represented by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), have called the requirement too burdensome and sued the city last July 24 to stop the program from taking effect. They say their members cannot agree to pay those costs without knowing what they will be, and question why they are being singled out over manufacturers of other household appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.
The requirement making manufacturers responsible for ‘direct collection’ of e-waste from homes is what CEA and ITIC have called ‘uniquely objectionable’ about New York’s law. They argue that compliance with the law as written could cost as much as $200 million or more per year. That is because it forbids curbside collection, which under New York City law, is the exclusive domain of city sanitation workers. Last summer, the city sanitation workers’ union filed a grievance with the city’s labor relations board arguing that the direct-collection rule violates its collective-bargaining agreement with the city and its ban on privatizing municipal workers’ jobs. A decision on the complaint has been stayed until the lawsuit is decided.