South Carolina's Electronics Recycling Stakeholder Group

A stakeholder meeting was held virtually on January 29, 2021, with representatives from the Department, electronics manufacturers, local governments, electronics recyclers, environmental organizations, and other interested parties in attendance. Discussion ranged from concerns over allocation of the recycling costs, revisions to what qualifies as a “covered device”, environmental risks, requirements for recyclers, and the December 31 sunset deadline. 

A second meeting with similar representation was held virtually on February 5, 2021 which focused on the possibility of extending the sunset provision. Other discussion occurred regarding how to support the state’s recycling industry, the landfill ban on covered electronics, and how best to fund the costs of recycling electronic devices. 

A third meeting with similar representation was held virtually on March 5, 2021 which focused on the best path to move forward on this topic. The stakeholder group agreed to support a 2-year extension of the current legislation until December 31, 2023, which will give time for policymakers, stakeholders, and other interested parties to formulate reforms to the current program. Discussion also took place on the next phase of the stakeholder group, such as breaking into smaller meetings for more intensive discussions on possible changes to the program. 

On April 30, 2021, a smaller group of participants from the larger stakeholder group, titled the Electronics Sustainability Subcommittee, met to discuss the development of an electronics sustainability plan to be approved by the full stakeholder group. Deliberation about the expected passage of the legislation which would extend applicable sunset dates also took place. A proposed timetable was shared, illustrating issues for the subcommittee to discuss, including environmental protection, cost sharing, changing technologies, and device management concerns. Participants were encouraged to speak with others, solicit thoughts and concerns and brainstorm ideas. The next meeting of the Subcommittee is tentatively expected to be on May 21, 2021. View the tentative timeline here.

On May 21, 2021, the Subcommittee met again and discussed goals for the group and how to set priorities. Data was provided by the Department relating to the flow of products into the recycling programs, which was analyzed by the group. This led to a discussion about ways to improve outreach to consumers and the relationship between recyclers and manufacturers. The utility of the landfill ban was discussed with the focus on perceived risks to human and environmental health. 

On June 25, 2021, the Subcommittee met to discuss elements from other state programs across the country, with emphasis on manufacturer take-back requirements, covered devices, landfill bans, and the potential of a convenience-standard system for recycling products. The group also analyzed more data from the Department on the flow of products with the main focus on trends for future years. 

On July 22, the Subcommittee met for an extended discussion on program elements in electronic waste systems in other states (Illinois, Vermont, and California), including take-back requirements, landfill ban on certain devices, consumer, and recycling fees, covered devices and the manufacturer registration fee. Requirements for recyclers was suggested as a topic for more discussion in the future.

On September 2, the Subcommittee briefed the full stakeholder group on the activities of the Subcommittee. A representative from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency delivered a presentation (IL Consumer Electronics Recycling Act Overview) and answered questions on the aspects of his state's e-waste program, including Illinois' convenience standard, and the responsibilities of manufacturers, recyclers, and state and local governments.