August 6, 2021

Contact: Sen. Cowles: (608) 266-0484 / Rep. Mursau: (608) 266-3780

Consensus Changes Made to E-Cycle Program Under New Law

MADISON– Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statements after a bill they authored, 2021 Senate Bill 248, was signed into law today as 2021 Wisconsin Act 79: 

“While Wisconsin’s Electronic Recycling Program has been highly successful and the standard for other states to follow, there are still too many outdated and unused televisions, computers, and cell-phones sitting people’s homes,” said Representative Mursau. “Our hope is that we can make it easier for folks, especially in those living in our rural areas, to properly recycle these items and keep them out of our landfills. I appreciate the bipartisan support this effort has received over the years and I’m happy it’s been signed into law.”

“Despite the successes of the E-Cycle Wisconsin program over the past decade, including more than 325 million pounds of electronic waste collected, some areas for improvement have also become evidently clear,” said Senator Cowles. “Act 79 provides us with a number of needed, simple, and consensus-based changes. I want to thank my co-author, Jeff Mursau, and the DNR for their continued partnership on this effort. I also want to thank former Senator Mark Miller for his long-time efforts to help improve the E-Cycle program.”

2021 Wisconsin Act 79 makes a series of minor, consensus changes recommended by program’s Annual Report and stakeholders to improve the functionality of the E-Cycle Wisconsin program with the goal of more valuable and sometimes toxic materials being diverted from landfills, extra space in Wisconsinites’ homes, and more business opportunities in our state. Supported by a number of entities including those representing local and tribal governmental interests, independent schools and religious organizations, and environmental and proper resource management interests, the changes made through this legislation include:

  1. Establishing a grant program funded by manufacturer fees for eligible entities to receive assistance that can help to increase access to electronic device collection sites and events in rural areas;
  2. Expanding the types of K-12 schools covered by the program to now allow collections from all public, charter, private and tribal schools to count towards the manufacturer’s recycling targets;
  3. Changing the program year from a state fiscal year to the calendar year with an 18-month transition program year and adjusted fees and targets in this transition year;
  4. Changing the manufacturer’s annual registration fee thresholds set by the number of covered devices sold in a year to exempt more smaller manufacturers from these registration fees;
  5. Changing the manufacturer’s annual reporting requirements to distinguish between whether a collected device was from one of the 39 rural counties or from one of the 33 urban counties, and;
  6. Changing the covered electronic device definitions to clarify language on consumer printers to exclude floor-standing printers, point of sale receipt printers, and other similar printers.