Capitol Steps The Push for Green
The European WEEE Directive takes a "manufacturer-only" approach to this issue and will require electronic producers to wholly finance a collection and recycling systems for used electronics throughout the European Union.
However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a "shared responsibility" approach to this issue. Under this approach, all parties, including manufacturers, retailers, government agencies and consumers, have a role in ensuring that an effective and efficient system is established to collect and recycle used electronics.
Currently, the EPA is leading the National Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) Dialogue, a multi-stakeholder initiative that is developing a national electronic collection and recycling model that may form the basis of national legislation. NEPSI includes more than 45 representatives from various groups including environmentalists, industry, government and recyclers. NEPSI had its first meeting in April, 2001. Industry members include Hewlett Packard, Philips Electronics, Sony, Sharp and Panasonic. NEPSI hopes to develop a consensus recommendation by September 2002. Currently, NEPSI is discussing options that include advance recovery fees and end-of-life collection fees to finance any national electronic recycling system. One stakeholder group that has been notably absent is the retail community. Retailers are not actively engaging in the one forum where a national electronic product collection and recycling model and a possible role for retailers will likely emerge.