Risks of Improper Disposal of Electronics
The disposal of electronics poses a concern for several reasons.Production of electronics require a significant amount of resources, including metals, plastic, and glass, all of which can be recovered through recycling.Producing one desktop computer takes at least 530 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water.Cell phones use precious metals such as silver, gold palladium and copper, all in limited supply.When those metals are recovered, we use a fraction of the energy used in mining new metals and conserve dwindling resources.Further, improper disposal of hazardous materials such as lead, nickel and mercury pose health risks to humans and a danger to the environment.
States Take Action
Given these growing concerns, a number of states have enacted legislation programs for the recycling of electronic waste.There are basic models that many state legislators have adopted.The extended responsibility model places responsibility on the manufacturer for the cost of collecting and recycling products covered under the law.The products covered vary from state to state.The advanced recycling model requires consumers to pay a $6-$10 fee at the time of purchasing certain electronics and those fees are deposited into a statewide recycling fund.
Here is a brief overview of some of the specific details of each state’s recycling laws.For more specific details, refer to a state’s website:
- California enacted legislation requiring consumers to pay a fee when purchasing electronics.Covered products include cathode ray tubes, LCD screens, plasma televisions, cell phones, microwaves, and others.The law is designed to limit the amount of toxic substances in certain electronic products sold in California and to fund a system for the collection and recycling of discarded covered electronic devices.
- Connecticut requires manufacturers of TVs, laptops, desktops, and computer monitors to bear the cost of recycling their products.Connecticut sponsors collection events where consumers may dispose of their electronic recyclables.
- Hawaii requires manufacturers of computers, printers, monitors and televisions to bear the cost of recycling their products.Manufacturers whose products are sold in the state must register with the Dept. of Health and pay an annual $2,500 or $5,000 registration fee, dependent on what they manufacture.
- Illinois requires manufacturers and retailers to participate in the management of discarded and unwanted electronic products, and manufacturers must register with the state and pay a $5,000 registration fee.Illinois provides residents with a list of e-waste recyclers they may contact regarding disposal of unwanted electronics.
- Indiana requires manufacturers of video display devices to collect and recycle 60% by weight of the volume of products they sold in the previous year in Indiana.E-waste recyclers who wish to work with manufacturers as part of their collection and recycling efforts may enroll in Indiana’s E-Waste Program.Manufacturers must also pay an annual fee to the state.
- Maine requires manufacturers bear the costs of recycling for electronics such as desktop printers, video game consoles, digital picture frames, portable computers, computer monitors, televisions, and/or portable DVD players.
- Maryland requires manufacturers of over 1,000 covered electronic devices to registers with the state and pay a $5,000 annual fee which is used for grants and collection programs.
- Michigan requires manufacturers selling new computers and televisions to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $3,000.Recyclers must also register and pay an annual fee of $2,000 and certify they comply with state and federal recycling laws, and use industry standard accepted procedures for destruction of data.
- Minnesota requires manufacturers to recycles 80% of their market weight.Manufacturers must also pay a $2,500 annual registration fee to the state.Certain products are also banned from being disposed of as trash, including CRT containing devices.
- Missouri passed the “Manufacturer Responsibility and Consumer Convenience Equipment Collection and Recovery Act,” which require manufacturers to collect and recycle obsolete equipment. Electronics recyclers may voluntarily register with the state.
- New Jersey requires manufacturers to pay a $5,000 registration fee to the state and establish and establish a collection, transportation and recycling system, independently or jointly, for the recovery of computers, monitors and televisions.Television manufacturers must transport and recycle used TVs.Disposal of many electronics as trash is banned and recyclable electronics must include labels advising of the ban.
- New York consumers are advised to recycle electronics and manufactures need to pay the state a fee for recycling.
- North Carolina requires manufacturers to collect their equipment, submit a plan to the state for reuse and recycling, register with the state and pay a $10,000 registration fee, followed by a $1,000 annual fee each year thereafter.
- Oklahoma has a Computer Recovery ac requiring a convenient and environmentally sound recovery program for the collection, recycling and reuse of computers and computer monitors that have reached the end of their useful lives.Devices must also be labeled and convenient recycling set up for consumers.
- Oregon requires manufacturers to participate in a recycling plan or pay a fee to the State Contractor program.They must also label products as recyclable.
- Pennsylvania passed the “Covered Device Recycling Act,” which created a statewide program to recover and recycle electronic waste, specifically computer equipment and televisions.Manufacturers must also collect, transport and recycle a certain quantity of electronics and advise consumer where they can recycle.There is a ban on disposing of electronics in landfills.
- Rhode Island requires manufacturers have individual financial responsibility to take back and recycle their products at the end of the product’s useful life from both households and public/private elementary & secondary schools.Certain electronics are also banned from disposal in landfills.Manufacturers may also choose to participate in state run take-back programs.Manufacturers must pay a $5,000 annual registration fee to the state.Retailers may not offer for sale electronics from manufacturers not in compliance with R.I.’s recycling laws.
- Texas requires manufacturers to offer consumers a free recycling program.Manufacturers are required to collect and recycle only electronics purchased for personal or home office use.
- Utah requires manufacturers to meet certain reporting requirements to the Department of Environmental Quality.Manufacturers must establish public education programs about recycling.Also, the state may enter in agreements with manufacturers to facilitate consumer electronics recycling.
- Vermont passed a “Standard Plan for the Collection and Recycling of Electronic Devices.”This law allows Vermont to hire a third party to assist the Department of Environmental Conservation with creating a recycling plan.The state offers free collection and recycling of electronics.There is a ban on disposing of covered electronics as trash.
- Virginia requires manufacturers provide a recycling plan at no cost to consumers.Manufacturers must label electronics with their brand and provide recycling information on a website.
- Washington requires manufacturers to label products, register with the state, pay an annual fee, and participate in or create a plan for recycling.Covered electronic products include televisions, computer monitors, desktop and laptops computers.Manufacturers are allocated a “share” which they must recycle based on volume of products returned for recycling.Recyclers and transporters must be licensed by the state for electronics recycling.
- West Virginia requires manufacturers to register with the state and pay an annual fee which is deposited with the State Treasury.These fees are distributed as grants to counties, municipalities or other programs that divert covered electronic devices from the waste stream.Manufacturers must pay a $10,000 annual registration fee to the state, but if they have a take back program, they are required to pay just $3,000 annually.
- Wisconsin requires manufacturers of computers, TVs and printers to meet collection goals tied to what they are selling.Disposal of electronics as trash is banned.Manufacturers must register with the state and pay an annual fee of $0-$5,000 based on volume of sales.Electronics must be labeled with the manufacturer’s information.Recyclers must accept electronics from a collection center or consumers.
- Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have bans against disposing of certain electronics in landfills but have no specific recycling laws in place.