The California Electronic Waste and Recycling Act of 2003 places an advanced recycling fee on the sale of new computer monitors, TVs, and laptop computers to fund a statewide recovery and end-of-life processing system for obsolete electronics. These products contain hazardous substances that can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. For example, computer monitors contain lead that can leach into groundwater if they are dumped in an ordinary landfill.
Asof January 1, 2005, anyone who purchases an electronic device containing a cathode ray tube or flat panel display pays a $6 to $10 fee at the time of purchase. (Beginning in July 2005 plasma and liquid crystal display screens are also subject to the fee.) Businesses send the collected fees to the state government. The state uses the fees to pay approved end-of-life recyclers 48¢ per pound of covered e-scrap. The recyclers in turn pay 20¢ per pound to the authorized collectors who deliver material to them. Payments and fee levels will reviewed every two years and adjusted based on experience with costs and revenues.
Three state agencies are involved in the system: The Board of Equalization collects the fees; the Integrated Waste Management Board pays the recyclers; and the Department of Toxic Substance Control determines what materials are classified as hazardous, which items are covered by the program, and evaluates potential collectors and recyclers. One web site (www.eRecycle.org) contains all the information related to the program.
- Full Text of the SB 20 California Electronic Waste and Recycling Act of 2003 – September 25, 2003
- Full Text of SB 50 – clarified certain provisions of SB 20 – September 29, 2004
- California Integrated Waste Management Board has a section on electronic product management
- Elements of Model E-Waste Legislation – prepared by the Computer Take Back Campaign
- The Concepts of Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship – from ILSR
- More information about community development through reuse and recycling is available through ILSR’s Waste to Wealth program.
- GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN)