Indiana Becomes Latest State to Pass E-Waste Law

Indiana Becomes Latest State to Pass E-Waste Law

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels last week signed into law the state’s first mandate for electronics recycling.

The signing of H.B. 1589 makes Indiana the 19th state in the country to implement electronics waste regulations in the absence of a federal standard. The Indiana e-waste law forces manufacturers to take responsibility for the collection and recycling of their products. 

Manufacturers of video display devices, such as TVs, computer monitors and laptops, must recycle 60 percent by weight of their sales of those products. They are required to register with the state by April 2010 and must include a plan describing how they will meet their recycling targets. They can count the recycling of other electronics, such as printers, keyboards and VCRs, toward their recycling goals. Manufacturers must report their progress at the end of each program year for state review. In the third year, the state will impose penalties for noncompliance.

Indiana’s current hodgepodge of recycling programs is inefficient, with disparities between counties depending on varying funding levels, according to Carey Hamilton, executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

“It’s not clear how much is being recycled and collected,” she told Tuesday.

Her nonprofit estimates just 10 percent of the electronics waste stream in Indiana is being collected for recycling, and much of that is still being exported to developing countries.

Indiana's law was modeled after a similar passed in Minnesota two years ago, Hamilton said, but with some differences.

For example, the Minnesota law penalized manufacturers in the first year of its program for noncompliance and required retailers to report manufacturing sales data to the state, which turned into a cumbersome process, Hamilton said. Indiana tweaked its law so that manufacturers aren’t penalized until the third year, while sales figures are based on extrapolated national data.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user D'Arcy Norman.