PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The electronics industry has taken aim at Maine's 2-year-old program for recycling old televisions and computer monitors, saying it violates federal law governing transportation of hazardous waste.
The Electronic Industries Alliance, which represents manufacturers and recyclers, has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to effectively strike down Maine's first-in-the-nation program.
The program requires manufacturers to set up and pay for collection and recycling centers. Environmentalists credit it with keeping lead, mercury and other toxins out of landfills. Other states, including Connecticut, have developed programs modeled after Maine's.
''They've gone after the heart of a state trying to be more stringent than the federal government,'' said Stacey Ladner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. ''It would undercut nationwide the ability of a state to classify something as a hazardous waste.''
The EIA declined comment, but argued in its filing that Maine's rules ''cause confusion, interfere with the flow of trade and otherwise serve as an obstacle to the purposes of the federal (hazardous materials) law.''
In Maine, communities collect e-waste for private recyclers who charge manufacturers up to 48 cents per pound for their products. The wastes are carefully tracked to determine how much each manufacturer is charged.
A California system that predates Maine's is paid for by charging consumers a recycling fee of $6 to $10 when the product is purchased.
The DOT is accepting written comments on the EIA petition until Friday and could make a decision this summer.