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Regulations governing management of used electronics in United States

May 14th, 2013 · No Comments

Here in this post we will tell you about regulations governing management of used electronics in United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the main agency of federal government of United States that takes care of protection of Environment and human health through enforcement of laws and regulations passed by government. There are certain regulations which govern the management of used electronics in US which are mentioned in this article. There are differences between State and Federal regulation for recycling E-waste and management of used electronics. In Federal legislative, there is no specific mandate for recycling Electronic waste but in many state laws, there are mandatory regulations to recycle E-waste.

Some electronics like CRT Televisions, CRT Computer screens and small electronic devices like PDAs, tablets and cell phones are considered hazardous under Federal law and require special treatment based on certain regulations. The federal regulations mandate the recycling and reuse of such electronic items and there are less rigorous regulations for such goods that must be recycled.


Federal Regulations Governing Management of E-Waste 

Environment protection agency encourages the public to recycle used electronics including products which are considered hazardous. Some of the federal regulations for managing used electronics are as below,

  1. Donation or Resale: Televisions and computer monitors which are donated to other users for regular use or resold at cheaper price are not termed as hazardous waste. EPA encourages such resale and donation of used electronic goods including cell phones, laptops, TV monitors etc.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency encourages the reuse and recycling of Cathode Ray Tube Monitors and they are required to undergo specialized treatment for this purpose.  It includes providing detailed information about export of Used CRT monitors and following regulations. Also there are certain conditions to be following while recycling Glass from CRT monitors since it contains certain amount of Lead which is poisonous.
  3. There are separate regulations for facilities which generate more than hundred kilograms of hazardous waste per month. CRTs which are disposed from these facilities as against recycling or reuse will be considered as hazardous waste category Small organizations and other businesses which sent less than hundred kilograms do not fall under hazardous waste category and can be sent to disposal facility which has authorization for handling solid waste.
  4. Used televisions, computer monitors, laptops, cell phones and other electronic goods from household are exempted from hazardous waste category and don’t fall under such stringent regulations. They can be either disposed safely or sent for recycling to nearest recycling facility.
  5. There are also separate regulations for recycling Circuit boards in US and they are bound to special exemption from rules of disposing hazardous waste. Whole circuit boards that are unused will be considered as commercial chemical goods which are unused and hence it’s unregulated. At the same time used Whole circuit boards are considered as spent materials, but still come under category of scrap metal and are exempt from regulations for hazardous waste.
  6. Shredded circuit boards which are containerized before recovery are omitted from the category of solid waste provided they don’t include materials like mercury switches, lithium batteries, cadmium batteries, mercury relays etc. If they include such materials, then they fall under category of hazardous waste and should be treated separately.

State regulations for disposal of hazardous waste

Under state regulations there are more rigorous standards for disposal of hazardous waste and it differs among various states. For example, in California CRT monitors are considered as spent materials and treated as hazardous waste which means they can’t be disposed in form of landfills. But in states like Florida and Massachusetts they are stringent laws for handling CRT monitors and they are considered as solid waste. If you plan to dispose CRT monitors or any used electronics, you should check both state and federal requirements before taking any action.

Tags: Recycling