Latin American Region Environmental Report: Puerto Rico Highlights (Volume III 2013)
Environmental Quality Board Developing Draft E-Waste Regulations
Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board (Junta de Calidad Ambiental; “the Board”) is in the process of preparing draft regulations implementing the 2012 Puerto Rico Electronics Recycling and Disposal Promotion Act (Ley para Fomentar el Reciclaje y la Disposición de Equipos Electrónicos de Puerto Rico; “Act”). (See LAR Environmental Quarterly, Fourth Quarter, 2011.) The draft currently under development contains detailed provisions elaborating a variety of matters, including (1) the e-waste-management practices that are prohibited under the Act; (2) licensing, permitting, and operating requirements for importers, manufacturers, vendors, and storers of electronic equipment as well as e-waste handlers, disposal facilities, recyclers, and exporters; and (3) financial assurance requirements. Other matters addressed by the draft regulations include manifest requirements for e-waste handling and compliance plans for e-waste-management facilities. It is anticipated that the Board will release the draft regulations for public comment sometime in the near future, although no firm date has been set.
House Bill Would Replace Electronic-Recycling Certification Program
On October 11, a bill (Proyecto de la Cámara 1475; “the Bill”) was introduced in the House of Representatives that would amend the 2012 Puerto Rico Electronics Recycling and Disposal Promotion Act (Ley para Fomentar el Reciclaje y la Disposición de Equipos Electrónicos de Puerto Rico; “Act”) to eliminate the requirement that companies that manage electronic waste obtain the “e-Stewards” certification developed by the nonprofit Basel Action Network. Instead, the Bill would direct Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board (Junta de Calidad Ambiental) to issue within 90 days after promulgation regulations requiring carriers, collection centers, recyclers, and processors of electronic equipment and cathode ray tubes to meet certain minimum waste-management standards based on the general principles of the e-Stewards program. (Bill, Art. 2) Those standards would be based on both the e-Stewards standards and on standards developed by a nonprofit called R2 Solutions. (Art. 2) Among other things, the Bill would also require exporters of e-waste to provide manifests in order to show that the waste has not been sent to developing countries with lower environmental standards than those provided under the Act. (Art. 1) In addition, the Bill would impose additional requirements on e-recycling and disposal facilities. (Art. 3) The Bill has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs.