Vermont S.77 Testimony

Vermont is considering the Minnesota-style ewaste bill in January. Last year, VPIRG reps were nonplussed at me for trying to amend it and complaining about it in its form (in a way that the bill died in committee).

I understand that municipalities (our clients) are looking for relief anywhere they can find it. Even if most of the savings are going to be passed to resident clients, and there is not a lot of net benefit to the municipality, they will take relief where they can find it. So we have signalled we are willing to work with an improved bill.

1) Eliminate the CPU/scrap metal trick. If the manufacturers can meet their "tonnage obligations" by "buying" stuff that has always been collected for free, they will.

2) Local reuse can be blocked, but eliminate the language banning international reuse and refurbishment.

3) Ghost tonnage. If the manufacturers can meet their obligation with scrap metal and unregulated (non-CRT) tonnage which does not have weights and time rules and indoor storage, it also allows them to buy "exaggerated tonnage". We have written previously that the massive increase in recovery reported in Product Stewardship legislation states owes much to delays in getting the legislation passed (the "long grass" lawnmower fallacy) and in removal of any incentives to police fake weight slips. The less a recycler actually collected, the cheaper we can sell the inflated figures for.

The days of using computer recycling profit to subsidize TV CRT collections are ending. There are too many TVs, too big, and there is too much competition (e.g. Goodwill Industries) taking computers only. We can live with S.77 but we are really aggravated that VPIRG will not take our recommendations seriously.

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