Statement of Scope
Department of Natural Resources
Revisions to chs. NR 502 and 520 and creation of ch. NR 530 for the purpose of implementing electronics recycling program requirements
1. Finding/nature of emergency (Emergency Rule only):
The rules will be proposed as permanent rules.
2. Detailed description of the objective of the proposed rule:
Wisconsin’s electronics recycling law (2009 Wisconsin Act 50) established a statewide product stewardship program to collect and recycle certain electronics from Wisconsin households and schools (now in s. 287.17, Wis. Stats.). This recycling program, funded by manufacturers of TVs, computers, monitors and printers, is called E-Cycle Wisconsin. The law also banned landfill and incinerator disposal of many electronics beginning in September 2010 under s. 287.07(5), Wis. Stats. To date, the department has not promulgated any rules related to s. 287.07(5) or s. 287.17, Wis. Stats. The purpose of the proposed rule is to create a new administrative code chapter under the authority of s. 287.17, Wis. Stats., and to amend chs. NR 502 and 520, Wis. Adm. Code, as they relate to electronics recyclers.
The goals of this rulemaking are to:
- Ensure the electronics recycling program created by s. 287.17, Wis. Stats., continues to function well, including maintaining streamlined registration and reporting practices and preserving a level playing field among program participants.
- Protect human health and the environment by providing more consistent oversight of electronics recycling operations in Wisconsin.
Specifically, the proposed rule would:
1. Codify existing registration and reporting practices for electronics collectors, manufacturers and recyclers that register with the department under s. 287.17, Wis. Stats. 2. Codify the department’s guidance clarifying whether specific electronic devices meet definitions under s. 287.17 (1), Wis. Stats. 3. Add criteria for whether materials derived from eligible electronic devices are “recyclable” under s. 287.17 (1) (m). 4. Modify manufacturer registration fees to reduce or eliminate fees some small electronics manufacturers pay to the department under s. 287.17 (4) (b), Wis. Stats. 5. Clarify and modify some operational requirements for recyclers registered under s. 287.17 (8), Wis. Stats. 6. Codify existing practice of allowing recyclers registered under s. 287.17(8), Wis. Stats., to sell credits for recycled pounds (sometimes called “paper” pounds) to other registered recyclers within a program year. 7. Clarify and strengthen owner financial responsibility requirements for recyclers registered with the department under s. 287.17 (8), Wis. Stats., to ensure that adequate funds are set aside for full cleanup of electronics recycling facilities, and that the department or relevant authorities in other states can access and use the funds when needed. 8. Clarify retailer outreach requirements under s. 287.17 (9), Wis. Stats. 9. Codify department practice implementing the suspension and revocation authority in s. 287.17 (10) (h), Wis. Stats. 10. Require a solid waste processing license under s. 289.31, Wis. Stats., for most electronics recycling operations.
Additional rule changes or clarifications may be pursued which are reasonably related to those discussed here.
3. Description of the existing policies relevant to the rule, new policies proposed to be included in the rule, and an analysis of policy alternatives:
Under the electronics recycling law, manufacturers of TVs, computers, monitors and desktop printers must register with the department the brands they sell to Wisconsin households and schools. Those manufacturers also must recycle a target weight of electronics each year based on their sales. Manufacturers contract with state-registered recyclers and collectors to meet their targets.
E-Cycle Wisconsin has each year produced a statutorily required annual report that includes proposed changes to the program. Some of those proposed changes can be implemented through this rule making.
Additionally, the department tested a policy interpretation that many electronics recyclers fall outside of the definition of the term “solid waste facility” as defined by s. 289.01(35), Wis. Stats., and therefore that they did not require a license as a solid waste facility under s. 289.31, Wis. Stats. However, the department’s experience with several large and expensive cases of electronics mismanagement and its deeper knowledge of the hazardous materials found in many electronics show that the processing activities engaged in by electronics recyclers involve materials not normally found on sites of other recyclers exempted from the definition of “solid waste facility.” Therefore, the department believes that a potential rule change to make clear the distinction between electronics recycling and exempt activities is warranted.
Policy alternatives include continuing to rely on guidance or asking for additional and more detailed legislative changes.
4. Detailed explanation of statutory authority for the rule (including the statutory citation and language):
Section 287.03, Wis. Stats., directs the department to promulgate rules necessary to implement ch. 287, Wis. Stats. In addition, s. 287.17, Wis. Stats., gives the department specific authority for promulgating rules related to certain aspects of the electronics recycling law. Section 287.17(10)(k) gives the department authority to modify manufacturer registration fees. Section 287.17(10)(i) gives the department authority to modify the list of eligible electronic devices in s. 287.17(1)(gs) or the list of electronics banned from landfill or incinerator disposal in s. 287.07(5)(a), Wis. Stats. Section 287.17(8)(e) gives the department authority to modify or add to operational requirements for registered recyclers. Section 289.06(1), Wis. Stats., directs the department to promulgate rules implementing and consistent with chapter 289 and ss. 292.31 and 292.35.