reports that California is set to become the first state in the country that will levy a surcharge for recycling computers — a fee that will be passed on to buyers. California governor Gray Davis has until the end of the month to veto the measure, otherwise it automatically becomes law.
Under the terms of the legislation, retailers and computer makers would be required to add a US$10 fee to purchases beginning in January, to help cover the cost of recycling and toxic waste disposal associated with computer parts. Many environmentalists support the measure; those opposed say that it will hurt computer sales in California as buyers look for ways to avoid the fee.
The computer manufacturing industry is almost uniformly against the legislation, but one company has broken away from the pack in support of it: Apple. Apple agreed to the measure only after it was amended to include companies that sell over the Internet, as well.
Groups opposing the bill claim that, as written, it will violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause by imposing the fee on out-of-state companies. A provision in the bill revokes the program entirely if a company outside the state sues and wins an exemption.