Schrock Innovations Testifies Agaiunst LB 454 – Another Bad E-Waste Recycling Bill That Needs to Be Defeated

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  • Written on: February 27th, 2013

The Natural Resources Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature will be considering LB 454 tomorrow to create a new government bureaucracy to handle the recycling of electronics waste like old computers and televisions.

This is the third attempt in a decade to get this bill on to the floor of the legislature, and like the two before it this one is fatally flawed.  Below is a transcript of the testimony I will be submitting tomorrow at the Legislature.  If you would like to register your opposition to this bill you can do so by emailing a note to the Natural Resources Committee at bkoehlmoos@leg.ne.gov.  You can read LB 454 here.

To whom it may concern:

Schrock Innovations, a local Lincoln computer sales and service company would like to inform the committee that we are in opposition to LB 454 for a number of reasons.

We believe LB 454 will be bad for local businesses, will actually cause a net elimination of private sector jobs, and will not be able to accomplish its stated goals because the fees collected for the tonnage of electronics produced will continually decrease as devices become smaller and lighter while the costs of recycling the existing e-waste in the state will remain constant.

Additionally, LB 454 is completely unnecessary because the private sector is already taking steps to deal with the e-waste problem.

For example, Schrock Innovations already recycles 4 computers for every unit we sell into the marketplace during the course of normal business.  Additionally, we hold annual e-waste collection drives at our own expense, offer trade in value for old systems that have no value to us, and offer free recycling services at all three of our locations.

As you may or may not be aware, there is little margin in new computer sales.  The additional taxes and regulations imposed by LB 454 would force Schrock Innovations to reconsider the local sale of new computers and the seven full-time positions that are required to order components, construct systems, and install them in our customers’ homes could be eliminated.

The aim of LB 454 as we understand it is to shift the economic responsibility of recycling e-waste onto the manufacturers who produce it.  We do not believe that tonnage of electronic devices presently sold in Nebraska would generate sufficient revenue to fund LB 454’s lofty goals and that the recycling program will rapidly become a burden to the state’s general fund.

For example, in 2000 the Metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County in Tennessee was force to close down a similar e-waste program because it had exhausted its annual budget in a mere 24 operating hours.  As a result, the government was forced to take direct control of the recycling activities of the program, damaging the local economy even further by eliminating the roles of the existing commercial recyclers.

LB 454 is predicated on the belief that somehow manufacturers are not doing anything to resolve the e-waste problem on their own.  This is incorrect.

Manufacturers, including Schrock Innovations have made strides in recent years to reduce the toxic chemicals in electronic products.  That effort, coupled with a natural drive toward smaller, lighter, and thinner electronic devices is continually reducing the landfill impact of e-waste in states across the country.

LB 454 is at best another example of a vein hope that somehow government will find a way to make an economically bad idea somehow plausible.  E-waste recycling is best left to the private sector without the interference of a government bureaucracy.

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