Back in 2009, the Lege passed a bill that would have required television manufacturers that sell TVs in Texas to set up a recycling program for old sets. This was modeled after similar legislation passed in 2007 for computers and computer manufacturers. Unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Rick Perry despite assurances from his staff that he was okay with it. Well, recycling advocates have gotten another bill passed, SB329, which they hope won’t get vetoed this time. Here’s the press release from Texas Campaign for the Environment:
Austin, TX – Environmentalists and recycling groups are celebrating a victory as a bill to spur recycling for obsolete televisions (Senate Bill 329) has passed through the Texas House of Representatives. The legislation, which already passed in the Texas Senate, would ensure that all manufacturers selling TVs to Texas consumers will offer recycling programs for all residents. With support from industry groups, local governments and recycling advocates, the bill will soon head to the Governor’s desk.
“This measure will keep toxic lead and mercury out of Texas landfills, while creating jobs in the recycling industry and saving local tax dollars,” said Robin Schneider, Executive Director for Texas Campaign for the Environment. “We’re proud of our State Representatives and Senators for passing this important bill, and we urge Governor Perry to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.”
Each year, Americans dispose of an estimated 25 million televisions. Old-style CRT televisions can contain several pounds of lead and many newer flat-screen TVs contain mercury. Typically, only one in every five TVs is recycled. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and Representative Warren Chisum (R-Pampa), puts the companies that make and sell televisions in charge of recycling them.
The legislation is similar to a 2007 state law that made computer manufacturers responsible for recycling their products in Texas. Under this law, computer-makers collected and recycled over 24 million pounds of old electronics in Texas last year.
Industry support has been a key factor in the bill’s success so far. The Consumer Electronics Association, which represents over 2,000 electronics companies, supports the bill. Local governments have also voiced their support – dozens of cities and counties, representing over half of all Texans, have passed local resolutions in favor of the bill. Twenty-four other states have passed similar laws for electronics recycling.
“It’s not just our environment that benefits – this program will also save local taxpayers money,” said Zac Trahan, Houston Director for Texas Campaign for the Environment. “We applaud the manufacturers for taking responsibility for recycling old TVs. We should not spend our tax dollars to subsidize the handling of this waste.”
The version of the bill passed by the State House is slightly different than the version passed by the Senate. A special conference committee will work out the differences between the two, and then the bill will be sent to the Governor’s desk.
The Statesman has editorialized in favor of SB329. If you want to help TCE with their efforts to convince the Governor that this worthwhile bill, which passed nearly unanimously, should be signed, go here. I hope that in this case it’s the second time that’s the charm.