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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

E-waste bill headed to governor for her signature…

In a victory for environmental groups (and anyone with an old computer monitor gathering dust in the attic) the Legislature on Monday voted to require electronics manufacturers to set up a collection and recycling program for computers, TVs and monitors.
In Washington State alone, according to the Department of Ecology, between 2003 and 2010, more than 4 million computers and 5 million monitors will become obsolete. All that waste – much of it heavy in plastics and lead – is starting to worry environmental regulators.
Senate Bill 6428, which passed the Senate Monday afternoon, requires makers to pay for collection, transportation and recycling of the machines, starting Jan. 1, 2009. Any fees passed on to consumers would have to be when the equipment’s purchased, not when it’s dropped off years later for recycling. The must be at least one staffed recycling collection site for any city with more than 10,000 people.
Some electronics manufacturers fought the bill, saying they don’t want to be required to recycle other makers’ machines. They also argued that foreign companies could sell their products in Washington without paying for the program.
“If you’re a manufacturer in the state of Washington, you are at a decided disadvantage with this bill,” said Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield. Yes, electronic waste should be cleaned up, he said. “The way to get to it is not to poke in the eye those who are creating jobs in the state of WA.”
Sen. Bob Morton predicted that the bill will send shoppers flocking over the borders to Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia to buy their electronics without the surcharge.
Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, maintains that the bill will not penalize Washington companies.
“It’s a solid bill,” he said. “It is not gonna be a jobs killer for Washington.”
The bill passed, 38 to 11.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.