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e-Waste Collection

e-Waste Collection


E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. Unfortunately, electronic discards is one of the fastest growing segments of our nation's waste stream.

With the passage of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 , certain portions of the electronic waste stream are defined and the systems to recover and recycle them will be administratively regulated beyond the universal waste rules that now apply to material handling. Please review the CIWMB's efforts to implement the Act for more information.

In addition, some researchers estimate that nearly 75 percent of old electronics are in storage, in part because of the uncertainty of how to manage the materials. Combine this with increasing advances in technology and new products headed towards the market and it is no wonder that "e-waste" is a popular topic. 


Is "e-waste" clearly defined?
The term "e-waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. There is no clear definition for e-waste; for instance whether or not items like microwave ovens and other similar "appliances" should be grouped into the category has not been established.

Is "e-waste" considered hazardous?
Certain components of some electronic products contain materials that render them hazardous, depending on their condition and density. For instance, California law currently views nonfunctioning CRTs (cathode ray tubes) from televisions and monitor as hazardous.

What should I do with my electronic discards?
The mantra of " Reduce, Reuse, Recycle " applies here. Reduce your generation of e-waste through smart procurement and good maintenance.  Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can still use it. Recycle those components that cannot be repaired.  To find an organization that reuses or recycles electronics, search the Electronic Product Management Directory (EPMD).

How can I learn more about this topic?
For more information, explore the resources available within this site. Two outstanding overviews include:

The U.S. EPA's recently published WasteWise Update on Electronics Reuse and Recycling, a comprehensive overview of the issue. ( Note : if you decide to print the document, which is available as a PDF, we suggest you do so in black and white--not color.)

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance published Plug Into Electronics Reuse to help expand the reuse infrastructure for electronics. Included in the publication are profiles of 22 model electronics reuse operations in the United States.