Compromise on Legislation

I've written before about the problems with involving manufacturers in a government-OEM-recycler-consumer-takeback-scheme. There are so many more things involved in the grey market, emerging markets, planned obsolescence, non-tariff barriers, etc. that it's difficult to imagine a scenario where the consumer comes away with their trousers still on.

However, as the attraction of "free money" (fees from manufaacturers) collects steam with recycling officials and other government officials, it's difficult to turn back the tide. Vermont's legislation has died not quite a thousand deaths, but it's going to rise again.

My compromise is to apply the legislation to Televisions only.

1) TVs are relatively simpler than computers. There is less of a conglomeration of hard drives made by Seagate, boards made by Intel, software made by Microsoft, CRTs made by Trinitron, and a brand name who contracts out to an assembly company. The "white box" or independent manufacturing market is not as big a player in the USA for TVs.

2) Aside from all the OEMs involved in the "original" manufacture of a single PC, there are fewer brand players to involve in a TV takeback program.

3) The TVs are the biggest cost associated with the electronics or "e-waste" collection system. PCs are worth money, and in Minnesota the manufacturers fell over themselves to sign up tonnage already being collected in the free market - commercial builing PCs.

4) TVs are about to go obsolete, both because of the CRT and because of the digital tuners. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it is indisputed that the secondary market for TVs is a fraction of the scale of the secondary market for computers.

If the TV legislation worked well, states could always choose to move into computer legislation later, after they have worked out the 'kinks'.

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