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News Sep 23, 2009 - 4:57 PM

Governor Rell announces draft regulations for state’s ‘e-waste’ recycling system

By Governor Rell's Office

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Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has formally proposed regulations to establish a recycling system for “e-waste” – old computers, monitors, printers and other electronic devices – that will be paid for by the manufacturers of the devices.

“We are hitting the ‘delete’ button on high-tech trash,” Governor Rell said. “This system is making Connecticut a national leader in minimizing the toll that old electronics can take on landfills and the environment. Apart from their bulky nature, these old devices often contain small but significant amounts of potentially dangerous pollutants such as mercury and lead. This system gives residents the peace of mind of knowing their old electronics are being safely broken down, with recyclable materials being reused and dangerous materials kept out of the environment.

“We will be one of the first states in the nation with a comprehensive, convenient and free system of recycling ‘e-waste,’” the Governor said. “This system includes an important element of producer responsibility, because manufacturers of electronic equipment sold in our state will pay the cost of transporting and recycling unwanted electronic equipment.”

Computers and televisions are only one component of the consumer electronics waste stream, which also includes VCRs, radios, cell phones and small appliances. Careful disposal of these items is important because computer monitors and televisions can contain leaded glass, while materials such as beryllium, mercury, cadmium, nickel, zinc, silver and gold can be found in printed circuit boards. Cadmium can also be found in batteries and mercury can be present in backlighting.

The e-waste recycling system will allow residents to bring unwanted electronic equipment to convenient collection points in their town or region – free of charge. The equipment will then be collected and recycled by approved companies.

“Recycling of unwanted computer equipment and television sets is a major gain for our environment,” DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said. “It takes tons of material out of our waste stream, reducing the volume of municipal solid waste. The program ensures that lead and other metals in e-wastes are managed properly, which reduces risks to the environment.”

The proposed regulations are only applicable to consumer- or household-generated e-waste. E-waste generated by business, commercial or governmental entities is subject to regulation under federal and state hazardous waste management regulations.

Under the 2007 legislation establishing the system, the DEP has published its proposed regulations in the Connecticut Law Journal as of September 22, 2009, and posted them on the DEP Web site at (select “Proposed Actions or Decisions”).

Publication of the draft regulations opens a public comment period which runs through October 30, 2009. Comments should be submitted in writing to: Tom Metzner, Environmental Analyst, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, Connecticut, 06106.

There will also be a public hearing on the proposed regulations on October 26, 2009. The hearing will be held from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. until all comments have been heard in the Phoenix Auditorium on the fifth floor of the DEP Headquarters at 79 Elm Street in Hartford.

All comments will be reviewed by the DEP and will be considered in development of the proposed final regulations. The proposed final regulations must be approved by the Legislature’s Regulation Review Committee before they take effect.

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