California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Electronic Waste Management


Articles | Reports and Studies

This page contains a collection of links and summaries of publications regarding electronic products and the management of discards.

Future of Electronic Waste Management in California: Project Summary and Recommendations. In the 15 years since the passage of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526), approximately 2.2 billion pounds of covered video display devices have been recycled. By providing oversight, diverting that material from landfills, and ensuring its proper end-of-life management, the state’s e-waste recycling program has prevented the release of untold amounts of toxic metals and other hazardous material into the air, soil, and water in California. However, to ensure the continued success of electronic device recycling in California, SB 20 needs to be updated to include more devices and address other issues.

Best Management Practices for Electronic Waste. (April 2003) This report provides practical guidance on implementing a local electronic waste recycling program. Includes bibliography and results of CalRecycle survey of cities and counties on cathode ray tube waste management issues.

Selected E-Waste Diversion in California: A Baseline Study. CalRecycle published a new study in December 2001 to provide data about the current electronic waste diversion infrastructure and how much of this material is being stockpiled in the residential sector. This study specifically tracked information regarding televisions, computer monitors, and central processing units.

Computer Display Partnership. This project evaluated  the life cycle environmental impacts, performance, and cost of  technologies that are used in desktop computer monitors, namely cathode ray tubes (CRT) and liquid crystal displays (LCD).


CRT Glass to CRT Glass Recycling (September 2001) 
Published by Materials for the Future Foundation, this document provides information on the components of a CRT and current U.S. based glass-to-glass recyclers.

How Do You Junk Your Computer? (February 12, 2001).
A Time magazine article on the growing issue of discarded computers and peripherals.

Reports on Electronics Recycling

The following publication list and summaries were provided by the National Safety Council.

Global E-waste Monitor 2017
This report is a joint effort of the United Nations University (UNU) , the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) to increase awareness of global e-waste management. By 2016, the world generated 44.7 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste and only 20% was recycled through appropriate channels. The authors estimate that by 2021, 52.2 million metric tonnes (Mt) will be generated. Although 66% of the world’s population is covered by e-waste legislation, more efforts must be made to enforce, implement, and encourage more countries to develop e-waste policies.

Electronic Product Recovery and Recycling Baseline Report: Recycling of Selected Electronic Products in the United States
Released in May 1999, this report documents the results of the first large-scale survey and analysis of end-of-life electronic product recycling and reuse in the United States. The research used data from 123 firms, including recyclers, third-party organizations that accept equipment for refurbishment and subsequent resale or donation, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and large corporate users of electronic equipment. More information on the report is available from the National Safety Council.

The report costs $95 per copy (including shipping and handling). Nonprofit organizations and government agencies may purchase the report at a discounted rate of $45 per copy. Contact Ralph Freeman by e-mail at or by phone at (202) 293-2270, ext. 486.

Analysis of Five Community Consumer/Residential Collections: End-of-Life Electronic and Electrical Equipment
Released in April 1999, this report brings together data from five electronic product recovery and recycling programs. The report covers pilot programs in San Jose, California; Somerville, Massachusetts; Binghamton, New York; and Naperville/Wheaton, Illinois. It also covers ongoing programs in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and Union County, New Jersey. The report includes summaries of program costs, materials collected, and advantages of different collection methods.

The report is available by contacting Fred Friedman, Director of the Research Library for RCRA, EPA Region 1, by e-mail,, or by phone, (617) 565-3282.

Electronics Processing and Marketing Research Project
This March 1998 project discusses the scope, function, and potential of the electronics demanufacturing and recycling industry in the Northeast. The project was funded by the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development, and three related reports (described below).

Electronics Recycling Vendor Survey
This 1998 survey reports on 38 companies in the Northeast that accept electronic equipment for recycling. The survey includes contact information, description of services, and products handled. The report, Electronics Recycling Vendor Survey: Technical Report #5, is distributed by the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development.

Potential Markets for CRTs and Plastics from Electronics Demanufacturing: An Initial Scoping Report
This 1998 report provides an overview of potential applications and markets for two problem materials arising from the electronics demanufacturing process—cathode ray tubes (CRT) and plastic housings. The CRT market overview summarizes several current recycling options, including closed- and open-loop recycling, repair, refurbishment, and smelting. The plastics research was limited to identification of potential end markets for material generated by University of Massachusetts Amherst's demanufacturing facility. The report, Potential Markets for CRTs and Plastics from Electronics Demanufacturing: An Initial Scoping Report: Technical Report #6, is distributed by the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development.

Scrap Electronics Processing
The University of Massachusetts Amherst's Office of Waste Management conducted this two-month survey to assess and quantify the processing and consumption capacity of scrap electronics processors and end-users in the Northeast. This study includes processing rates, labor rates, and market values of the products processed in the university's demanufacturing facility. The report, Scrap Electronics Processing: Technical Report #7, is distributed by the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development.

Residential End-of-Life Electronics Collection Pilots in Binghamton and Somerville
In 1996 and 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded two collection pilots for residential household end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment. A total of four collection days were held in Binghamton, New York, and Somerville, Massachusetts, during fall 1996 and spring 1997. The report, Residential Collection of Household End-of-Life Electrical and Electronic Equipment: Pilot Collection Project, is available by contacting Fred Friedman, Director of the Research Library for RCRA, EPA Region 1, by e-mail,, or by phone, (617) 565-3282.

Disposition and End-of-Life Options for Personal Computers
Carnegie Mellon University's 1997 study projects that approximately 325 million personal computers in the United States will have become obsolete between 1985 and 2005. Of that number, says the study, some 55 million will be landfilled and some 143 million will be recycled. (The study defines "recycling" as returning the computer components, including glass, plastic, and metal, to their original state to be used for other products.) The remaining 127 million computers will either be reused or stored before they reach their "ultimate" end of life. To obtain a copy of the study, please visit their Web site.

Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment
This document is a survey of the contents of materials and hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products. Single copies may be obtained for a nominal fee by contacting Bernan Associates at (301) 459-7666 or by e-mail at

Additional Publications

Desktop Computer Displays, A Life-Cycle Assessment (December 2001)

North East Recycling Council (NERC) Recycling Economic Information Study Discusses the role of product stewardship in the electronics industry.

"Poison PCs and Toxic TVs: The Biggest Threat to the Environment You've Never Heard of" is a report designed to raise awareness of the growing scope of the electronic waste problem in California.

Selected E-Waste Diversion in California: A Baseline Study (November 2001)

If you are aware of resources we should make available to others, please contact us using the e-mail link below.

Last updated: May 30, 2018
Electronic Discards
Contact: (916) 341-6269