NWPSC Activities: Mercury

Feedback Requested on Proposed 2014 Ecology Agency-request Legislation

The Washington Department of Ecology is working with stakeholders to find common ground on draft legislation to address the financing mechanism of the WA mercury-containing lights stewardship law (RCW 70.275). The legislation addresses the financing shortfall that is preventing the start of the statewide recycling program for fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Submit questions or comments to Megan Warfield at meth461@ecy.wa.gov, Department of Ecology.


Washington Mercury Lights Legislation 2013

SB 5658, which would repeal Washington's mercury-containing light stewardship law passed in 2010 and is supported by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), passed the Senate (TVW video) and was heard March 27, 2013 in House Environment (TVW), but did not pass. View the hearing sign-in sheet (PDF).

  • Bill Analysis (PDF)
    • SB 5658 removes responsibilities from manufacturers and does not provide solutions for how a statewide recycling program will be adequately financed.
    • It makes other stakeholders – including state and local governments, utilities, and retailers – responsible for the costs of handling toxic mercury-containing lights.
    • Passage of SB 5658 would stop Washington State’s Mercury-Containing Lights Stewardship Law just as Ecology is issuing a contract to a stewardship organization and more than 190 retailers and local governments have signed up as collection sites.

The NWPSC Mercury Subcommittee advocates for environmentally sound management of products that contain mercury. Subcommittee members were stakeholders in the process to draft the Washington product stewardship laws and rules to provide manufacturer-financed take back programs for fluorescent bulbs and tubes that contain mercury. The Subcommittee has conducted take back programs, written fact sheets and letters to encourage the take back and proper management of products containing mercury.