Producer responsibility is still a relatively radical concept in the United States: generally, we expect consumers to take care of the products they buy at their end of life (which usually means throwing them away). While 19 states have laws on the books assigning responsibility to producers for electronic products, none have passed more comprehensive regulations… until yesterday.
According to the Product Policy Institute, yesterday’s signing of LD 1631 (“An Act to Provide Leadership Regarding the Responsible Recycling of Consumer Products”) by Maine Governor John Balducci represented the first broad-scale effort by a state to assign end-of-life responsibility for products to the companies that made them.
Some will certainly see this as onerous regulation on business, but the combined support of both political and business interests in Maine demonstrates that such laws can provide opportunity for companies to research and develop products that can be easily recycled or reused (perhaps with some refurbishing), and that have longer useful lives.
I’m interested to hear what you think. This probably won’t be the last law we’ll see like this… numerous legislators across the country have introduced similar bills.