House approves e-waste billby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota House has passed a bill that would establish a statewide program to recycle used computer monitors, televisions and other electronic devices. The vote was 112 to 21.
Manufacturers would have to pay a fee to the state, and extra money if they fall short of reaching their recycling requirement. The money would be used to fund a collection program.
Minnesota already has a law banning some e-waste from being thrown into landfills, but some say the measure is needed to stop the illegal dumping of electronics. Many electronics contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.
Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, says the bill would reduce electronic devices being discarded illegally or stored up in homes.
"We've been hearing from our residents in Minnesota that they are getting sick and tired of having garages full of televisions, spare bedrooms full of computer monitors and garages full of all sorts of other electronic waste," she said during the House floor debate.
Critics, like Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, say the proposal will increase costs for consumers because manufacturers will pass along the costs of the recycling fees.
"This is a punishment bill to manufacturers," he said. "It's going to be passed along to the consumers. Let's do what is right. Let's collect, or put a goal out there that is achievable rather than something that is ridiculous."
The Senate is also expected to vote on the bill soon. Gov. Pawlenty says he'll sign the bill if it reaches his desk.