PA House Passes Recycling Mandate

Monday’s State House voting session focused on the pension bailout, but in the flurry of activity, a little discussed recycling bill that will cost manufacturers thousands annually and deter new tech start-ups passed with only 26 no votes.

HB 708 requires manufacturers of computers and TVs to collect and recycle their old products. Special interest groups tout the bill’s creation of “green jobs,” but, as usual, they leave out the part about higher administrative costs that will undermine any manufacturing start-ups, costing “jobs of other colors”. And the costs are significant—a $5,000 annual registration fee!

Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is given expansive power to determine recycling quotas and levy fines. Manufacturers must submit plans for DEP’s approval. If a manufacturer doesn’t recycle its quota, as determined by DEP, it must pay a fine to make up the difference, plus a 10% penalty. The program is expected to cost $430,000 each year—funded by the fees and fines placed in a restricted revenue General Fund account.

Environmentally-conscious consumers already have a variety of recycling options. CostCo, Best Buy, and Staples are just a few of the retailers who accept used electronics, and some reward you with gift cards. Consumer may also donate used appliances to schools or charities like Goodwill. In the end, this bill relieves the individual of personal responsibility, and forces it upon manufacturers through a new mandate that can only result in less productivity, fewer jobs, and higher consumer costs.