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'Landmark' e-waste bill clears NY Legislature

An electronics recycling bill that will require manufacturers to take back old equipment from consumers passed the state Senate on Friday, paving the way for a statewide e-waste program to recycle or reuse discarded computers, televisions and cell phones.

Similar bills failed to pass the Senate in recent years. Approval of this measure was part of a larger deal struck between the legislature and Gov. David A. Paterson over state parks funding.

Environmental advocates took issue with much of the agreement, which involved significant cuts to the Environmental Protection Fund. But they liked the e-waste bill, which they said will keep toxins such as lead out of garbage dumps and incinerators and create one of the strongest such programs in the country.

“It’s a landmark bill and will be a national leader,” said Richard Schrader, New York legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “I think we’re going to see a substantial decline in the amount of materials that winds up in landfills.”

Some electronics manufacturers had opposed the bill, which includes a disposal ban that will be phased in by 2015. The law will take effect April 2011.

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