Holiday Deals on Electronics May Not Comply with State Recycling Laws

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, consumers and retailers are encouraged to ensure that all of their electronics purchase comply with new state laws on electronics recycling.

Encouraging consumers to check unfamiliar brands with state compliance lists is important for leveling the playing field.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains, consumers may be seeing new brands on the latest bargain electronic items. While the majority of these deals from name brands will offer savings to consumers, the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) urges everyone to consider a hidden feature of these specials – whether recycling laws prevent their sale in their state. To date, 22 states require manufacturers to register or submit recycling plans prior to being able to sell their products in the state, but some brands fail to meet this key obligation.

Televisions, computers, computer monitors, and printers are the most common products that require registration prior to sale. Unfortunately, as some state agencies have discovered, some newer “bargain” brands are not always aware of these requirements. Retailers and other sellers in most of the states with mandatory programs have an obligation to check each state’s registration list to determine if a product can legally be sold in that state. Under many of the state laws, penalties can be assessed against the manufacturer and in some cases the retailer for failing to register or for selling unregistered brands in the state.

“Encouraging consumers to check unfamiliar brands with state compliance lists is important to leveling the playing field for all companies and containing costs. Black Friday or other promotional deals should not be bargains due to failure to comply with recycling laws,” said Jason Linnell, Executive Director of the National Center for Electronics Recycling, which manages the ERCC. “If these special deal brands disappear from the market in the coming months that leaves fewer responsible companies to fund the recycling of their devices. ” The ERCC maintains a web page for consumers to be able to reference their state’s list to see if the product can legally be sold in their state. If a consumer finds a brand for sale in their state that is not on their state list, the ERCC urges them to contact the ERCC or the state agency contacts listed on the website and note the seller.

Consumers and retailers in the following states can currently check the ERCC website to see if the brand is in fact registered and living up to its recycling obligations: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Newer state laws passed in 2010, such as New York, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania – who officially became the 24th state in the country with an “ecycling” law on November 23rd – will have registered manufacturer lists available in 2011. In some cases, a brand may already be designated as out of compliance due to failure to fulfill requirements under the state recycling law. The following web page on the ERCC website lists each state with these requirements, the products that are covered, and links to the registered brand page. In addition, this page includes a link to the ERCC compilation of brands out of compliance in all states as of the end of November, 2010. http://www.ecycleclearinghouse.org/content.aspx?pageid=73

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