Midwest Regional Electronic Waste Recycling Initiative

In 2005-2006, several Midwestern states joined in a regional initiative to develop a consistent and unified approach for managing waste electronics. State agencies represented in this initiative include Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. This effort was similar to the Northeast Regional Electronics Management Project undertaken by the ten Northeastern states under the auspices of the Council of State Governments and the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc., and built on model legislation developed through their efforts and input from stakeholders.

Matt Hale, Director, Office of Solid Waste, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressed the agency’s support for this initiative, stating, “a more formal forum where all states can come together will be helpful for states to share ideas and experiences as they develop policy and programs. It is hoped that this project will have a positive effect by reducing the likelihood that one state’s policies will have a detrimental impact on neighboring states.”

Policy statement (April 2006)

The Midwest E-waste Policy Development Initiative endorses this policy statement as an efficient and effective mechanism for the collection and recycling of waste electronics. It is consistent with the key principles of product stewardship, with manufacturers assuming responsibility for the collection and recycling of waste electronics. The policy statement also supports several important attributes of an effective e-waste program, including convenience for residents, clear performance goals, ease of administration for state government, environmentally sound management standards, and opportunities for interstate collaboration.

The policy is intended to provide guidance and recommendations to state lawmakers in the Midwest as a step towards recognizing the importance and opportunities of harmonized policy development and collaborative program implementation.

The undersigned agencies agree that the uniform legislation should be pursued containing the following elements:

  • Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the collection, transportation, and recycling of waste electronics.
  • Manufacturers register with the state.
  • Retailers are required to only sell products from registered manufacturers.
  • The obligation of manufacturers is determined by the weight of covered equipment sold in a particular state the previous year, although a broader array of electronic devices apply towards meeting the obligation. The Initiative’s list of covered equipment: televisions, monitors, laptops and desktop computers.
  • Manufacturers may choose to operate their own program or pay a per pound fee to the state. (Note: The financing mechanism promotes manufacturer responsibility but does recognize that some manufacturers may prefer to implement their responsibilities through a fee remitted to state government.)
  • At the end of each year, the manufacturers submit a report on the amount of material collected for recycling and, if short of their obligation, remit a per-pound fee for the remaining amount.
  • Retailers report to manufacturers on their sales in a particular state.
  • Manufacturers collecting more than their annual obligation may bank the credit towards the following year’s obligation or sell it to another manufacturer
  • Manufacturers will have an incentive to provide collection and recycling opportunities in both urban and rural areas.
  • Collection agents and recyclers must register with the state to participate in the system.
  • All e-waste collected must be handled according to environmentally sound management standards.
  • A disposal ban is to be implemented within two years of enactment
  • The state is authorized to participate in a multi-state entity to facilitate multi-state implementation.
  • States may choose to establish a third-party organization to implement provisions of the statute.

Letters of support

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
PDF icon Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
PDF icon Iowa Department of Natural Resources
PDF icon Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Background: Meeting resources and model legislation

January 20, 2006: Revised draft for comments

November 18, 2005 (Chicago)