Rapid upgrades to business class IT infrastructures, coupled with an insatiable consumer demand for new gadgetry has created a nationwide glut of discarded electronics. In response, New York has become one of twenty-four states in the US to have enacted an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law for electronics recycling. The New York Electronic Equipment Recycling & Reuse Act, which took effect in April 2011, is the largest electronics EPR legislation in the entire country. The NY EPR law has regulatory oversight of 20 million consumers and hundreds of registered manufacturers, recyclers and collection sites and an annual recycling goal of over 100 million pounds. Since the law was passed, the volume of materials collected on an annual basis has far exceeded all expectations and has outpaced legislative control. The result is a highly speculative marketplace for all stakeholders; including consumers, recyclers, collection sites and manufacturers. High volumes, in excess of manufactures recycling obligations, has resulted in a high risk of unfunded over collection with costs of collection and processing falling back onto the consumer. The main cost driver in the electronics waste stream is consumer-generated cathode ray tubes (CRT) found in old televisions and monitors - these devices have a high cost of recycling and no resale value. Although CRT’s are no longer being manufactured and will eventually work through the system, high volumes and costs in excess of manufactures funding are projected to continue for at least five to seven years. Corrective legislative action is currently being debated by governmental regulators and other stakeholders within the industry.
New York EPR Law