R-MO - ElectronicsRecycling.Org

Testimony of Senator James M. Talent (R-MO)
E-Waste Hearing
Environment and Public Works Committee,
Superfund and Waste Management Subcommittee
July 26, 2005
 I would like to thank Chairman Thune and Ranking Member
Boxer for holding this important hearing on electronic waste,
the first of its kind in the Senate.
 There are roughly 50 million computers and 20 million
televisions disposed of every year, some are illegally
dumped, some are recycled, and others are just thrown away
with the garbage.
 Computer monitors and televisions are a potential threat to
our environment since they contain four to eight pounds of
lead as well as other harmful materials.
 Because it’s not always convenient to recycle computers,
TVs and their parts, a lot of people store them in their
basements, attics and backyards or just throw them away.
 According to the EPA, U.S. households have an average of
two to three computers and televisions that they are not using
in storage.
 That’s about 70 million computers and televisions nationwide
sitting around, collecting dust and potentially harming the
 One of the largest illegal computer dumps was located in
Rolla, Missouri.
 Someone was running an illegal computer recycling business
out of a rented building on the property.
 Instead of properly disposing of the computers, the man
collected over 15,000 monitors and dumped them.
 Cleaning up this illegal dump cost Missouri taxpayers
hundreds of thousands of dollars.
 To avoid these types of hazardous and costly situations,
Senator Wyden and I have introduced legislation that
creates the first-ever nationwide infrastructure to deal
with e-waste.
 The “Electronic Waste Recycling Promotion and Consumer
Protection Act” (S. 510) gives tax credits to consumers as
well as to manufacturers, and retailers for recycling old or
unwanted computers and TVs.
 Importantly, this tax credit is completely voluntary. If
folks don’t want to recycle their old TVs and computers,
they don’t have to and there will be no penalty, which is
where the law is now.
 Here’s how the legislation works:
 There is a $15 credit, which is a one-time deal for people like
you and me that may have a computer or TV in our
 To get the credit, you must submit with your tax return proof
that the recycling was done by a qualified recycler.
 There is also a small business credit, which operates like this:
 An $8 credit is available to anyone who collects no less than
5,000 TVs or computers in a given year and proves that they
are recycled by qualified recyclers.
 They just have to submit with their tax returns a record of
who recycled the computer or TV and where it ended up.
 We want to encourage people to do the right thing and
 We also want to develop a national solution, which is most
desirable in the long run to avoid manufacturers and retailers
from dealing with a patchwork of 50 different state laws.
 This legislation will also help domestic manufacturing as
companies will use the tons of recycled materials to make
new computers and other electrical and industrial products.
 It is also pro-consumer since folks will have an incentive to
recycle an old computer or TV and take the tax credit or use
the money toward the purchase of new technology.
 Presently, consumers are actually discouraged from
recycling e-waste since the garbage collector doesn’t always
collect it, folks don’t know how to otherwise dispose of it, or
manufacturers charge fees to recycle the technology.
 This bill helps move us in the right direction by providing
people with incentives, rather than disincentives, to be
environmentally responsible.
 I am pleased that we are working with a broad business and
environmental coalition support this common sense, probusiness, pro-technology and pro-environment solution to ewaste.
 In particular, I want to thank the Missouri Recycling
Association and its 163 individual and business members
for endorsing this first-ever federal electronics recycling bill.
 Thank you for letting me join you today to discuss this projob, pro-technology and pro-environment legislation.