AHAM is attending the 38th summer legislative meeting for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), one of the three larger organizations representing state legislators around the country. The meeting in New Orleans this year is the largest ALEC conference by attendance in its 38 year history; I would eyeball somewhere around 1000 legislators, staff, and industry representatives like AHAM. The forum is proving to be an important chance for AHAM to educate and gain early support of policymakers who will be writing and voting on bills on topics affecting home appliance products this year and in 2012.
Among the main reasons we’re here is to discuss and educate lawmakers on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Many states have toyed with the idea of creating product take-back programs at the end of a product’s lifecycle. While this may seem like a great idea, it is important for legislators to know that major appliances have a 90% recycling rate. We blogged about this achievement a couple months ago. The creation of additional state EPR programs may be a waste of state budgets dollars and a threat to state job markets in some cases – two issues that are definitely not lost on this assembly. But, in all cases, these decisions need to be made with a strong base of knowledge and
understanding of how some localities are handling waste.
I will report back from San Antonio next week, where I will be attending the NCSL – the National Conference of State Legislators.