Both houses of the Colorado Legislature have approved a bill that would ban the dumping of electronic waste into the state’s landfills. The legislation goes before Gov. John Hickenlooper for approval.
Following introduction and approval in the Senate, the bill passed 43-20 Wednesday, March 21 in the House of Representatives. “We were thrilled,” said Randy Moorman, a lobbyist with the Colorado Environmental Coalition who had supported the measure.
Should Hickenlooper sign the bill, Colorado would join 17 other states with similar laws, according to the Colorado Conservation Voters.
The proposal gained bipartisan support. It was sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, and Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose. Senate co-sponsors were Democrats Irene Aguilar and Linda Newell, and Republicans Steve King and Jean White.
“I call it a jobs bill,” said Coram. If the measure becomes law, it is estimated that it may create up to 2,500 new jobs in Colorado.
Schwartz felt relief that her bill passed the legislature. “It took more than four years of effort,” she said. “We’ve finally come to the right solution.”
In previous years, a measure failed that would place the burden on manufacturers. The current proposal mandates that state agencies arrange for the recycling of waste electronics with a certified recycler.
If it gains final approval, the law would go into effect July 1, 2013. The stay allows time to educate the public and to gear up for the increased demand.
The proposal before Hickenlooper is the work of a team of individuals representing industry and individuals, recyclers and manufacturers. It provides a solution at low or no cost, depending on the situation.
It comes in the nick of time. Schwartz cited industry estimates that the use of electronic devices will swell to 50 billion by 2020– just eight years from now.
She believes most people want to keep electronic waste out of the landfill. “That old television may contain up to 40 pounds of lead. That flat screen TV may have mercury,” she said.
Certified recyclers can recover useful resources that might otherwise deteriorate and pollute the groundwater when discarded in a landfill, she added.