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Electronic Waste Recycling Act

February 20th, 2013 · No Comments

Here in this post we will tell you various electronic waste recycling act enacted by both Federal and State governments to ensure safe disposal of e waste.

Technology is an inherent part of our lives, so much that we don’t even realize the extent of our dependence on them. Fast paced developments in technology often force electronic products to become obsolete after lasting for just a few years. While most of us choose to upgrade to newer devices, what remains overlooked is the final disposal of the gathered hazardous electronic clutter. This is an increasing global concern with an estimated 50 million tons of e-Waste being produced each year, globally.

Also referred to as e-Waste disposal or e-scrap management, the United States is among the major contributors to such e-Waste. Realizing the potential threats of such discarded hazardous materials, both the Federal and State governments have enacted laws to ensure their safe disposal.

e waste recycling

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California e-waste Recycling Act

California had been at the forefront in this regard with the passage of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (EWRA) in 2003. The Act is aimed to reduce the use of electronic devices that potentially use hazardous materials and ensure a safe and clean procedure for their disposal. The Act also authorizes the collection of funds to pave the way for such safe disposal and emphasizes on the need to spread awareness about healthier e-Waste disposal practices.

The California Department of Resources Recycling, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and CalRecycle are together working in the area for policy implementation and have actively adopted regulations to implement the said law.

The Electronic Waste Recycling Act mainly entails the following:

Scope of the Act


The Act covers all electronic devices that contain Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), plasma displays and LCDs mainly found in televisions, computers, laptops and similar electronic equipment having a diagonally measured monitor screen of over 4 inches. As, under the Act, the mentioned devices can no longer carry hazardous materials beyond their set limits, which are as follows:

Mercury- 0.1%

Hexavalent Chromium- 0.1%

Lead- 0.1%

Cadmium- 0.1%

Safe Disposal

The Act also lays down the policies for distribution of such collected funds to reimburse e-Waste recyclers and collectors after submission of collection receipts. It also suggests a healthier criterion for State purchases. The state has also set up more than 600 recycling units for safe disposal.

What the Act means for?


As consumers, Californians pay an advanced fee at the time of device purchase for their safe disposal. Consumers are also banned from discarding their e-Waste in garbage bins and landfills. Californians are also coming forward by initiating e-Waste collection programs. Community help groups and NGOs periodically set up collection centers in different areas to support the movement.


The Act authorizes retailers to collect an additional Electronic Waste Recycling Fee from consumers of the said hazardous devices.  Such fees are periodically evaluated by CalRecycle, to maintain an adequate fund balance. Retailers should understand SB-20 and expect to register themselves with the Board of Equalization (BOE) and submit such fees to them. The Board further deposits the sum to the state recycling fund and communicates regularly with retailers.

Broadly categorized, such fees are decided as under:

  • Screens less than 15 inches- $8
  • Screens equal to 15 inches but less than 35 inches- $16
  • Screens of 35 inches or more- $25

Retailers must also provide information about safe recycling centers with details about the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at their establishments.


Manufacturers are expected to pay a registration fee of $5000 annually to the state fund. They are also encouraged to set up their own collection and recycling programs and submit annual reports of such campaigns to the DEP to gain transferable credits. Any failure to comply with the norms attracts heavy penalties.

Tags: Environment