California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Electronic Waste Management

Archived News

CalRecycle is no longer collecting and publishing general news regarding how electronic equipment is designed, procured, reused, recycled and disposed. Archived news is shown below.

2006

New Options for Recycling Cell Phones (July)
Beginning on July 1, 2006, California consumers will have more options for properly managing obsolete or unwanted cell phones. The Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 (AB 2901, Pavley) requires all retailers of cell phones in California to have a system to accept and collect used cell phones for reuse, recycling, or proper disposal. Any system must, at a minimum, include all of the following elements:

  • The take-back from the consumer of a used cell phone that the retailer sold or previously sold to the consumer, at no cost to that consumer. The retailer may require proof of purchase.
  • The take-back of a used cell phone from a consumer who is purchasing a new cell phone from that retailer, at no cost to that consumer.
  • A mechanism for the return of used cell phones if the retailer delivers a cell phone directly to a consumer in California, at no cost to the consumer.
  • Consumer information about cell phone recycling opportunities provided by the retailer and encouragement to utilize those opportunities.

Alternatively, many charitable groups accept cell phones as donations. Simply perform a web search for "cell phone donations" to find numerous options. Always remember to erase any personal information when donating or recycling your phone or PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)!

Landmark E-Waste Recycling System Celebrates First Anniversary (January)
California's covered electronic waste recovery and recycling payment system marked one year of operation on January 1, 2005. The system, which implements specific provisions of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (SB 20, Sher), includes a fee paid by consumers of covered electronic devices and payments made to approved collectors and recyclers of covered electronic waste. Nearly 65 million pounds of televisions and computer monitors were recycled through the system in the first year of operation.

2005

Landmark E-Waste Recycling System Begins (January)
California kicks off the covered electronic waste recovery and recycling payment system on January 1, 2005. This system implements specific provisions of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (SB 20, Sher), including a fee paid by consumers of covered electronic devices and payments made to approved collectors and recyclers of covered electronic waste.

2004

Office Depot and HP Announce Electronics Recycling Effort (July)
Office Depot is offering customers free electronic equipment recycling opportunity at all of their retail stores. Through September 6, 2004, customers can drop off one item per day at an Office Depot store. All equipment will be sent to one of Hewlett-Packard's electronics recycling facilities.

DELL Offers Recycling Grants (July)
DELL and the National Recycling Coalition are offering grants to provide financial support to public entities expressing an interest in staging one-day, no-charge computer collection events in their communities. The Recycling Grant Program provides grantees $10,000 to coordinate one-day, no-charge computer collection events in their communities. The deadline for applications was July 30, 2004.

2003

Legislation signed by Governor (September)
SB 20
, introduced by Senator Sher, was signed by the Governor on September 24, 2003. The legislation establishes the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003).

New E-Waste Recycling Facility (September)
In August, Sims Group announced the opening of a new 30,000-square-foot electronics recycling facility in Hayward, just east of San Francisco. The facility will serve customers in Northern and Central California.

Guidelines for the Procurement, Use, and End-of-Life Management of Electronic Equipment for state agencies were finalized in June. The guidelines, along with companion materials developed for training sessions held in May and June, are available at no cost. The guidelines provide suggestions for reducing costs and increasing efficiency through better management of electronic equipment over the life of the equipment.

2002

Legislation vetoed (October)
Two bills on electronic waste were vetoed in California: SB 1619 by Senator Romero and SB 1523 by Senator Sher proposed a $10 fee on computers and televisions purchased in California to help fund the collection and recycling programs.  You can read the Governor's veto message for more information.

Federal Legislation (HR 5158) was introduced July 18, 2002 by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) that would require the US EPA to develop a grant program for computer recycling programs. Legislation has also been introduced by other states including Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Report released: Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia focuses on the export of old electronic equipment to Asia and the conditions found by the report authors. (February 25)

EWaste Facilities Database (January 25)
We have compiled a list of electronic product reuse and recycling locations.

2001

December 11: "Selected E-Waste Diversion in California: A Baseline Study". CalRecycle published a new study today whose purpose was 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.

August 8: Computer monitors and televisions are now subject to hazardous waste regulations. The emergency regulations, which went into effect August 3, 2001, facilitate the collection and recycling of cathode ray tubes (CRT).  People who handle CRTs should review the regulations, which are posted on the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Web site. Also available from DTSC is a fact sheet, Managing Waste Cathode Ray Tubes, designed to answer common questions about CRTs.

June 21: Electronic Industry Alliance (EIA) announces pilot project for electronics recycling. The Electronic Industries Alliance, in cooperation with contributing manufacturers Canon, Hewlett Packard, JVC, Kodak, Nokia, Panasonic, Philips Electronics, Sharp, Sony, and Thomson, today announced the development of an innovative electronics collection and recycling pilot project. Scheduled to launch in October, the pilot will test several different models of electronics collection and recycling. From the pilot, participants hope to generate data that will help guide the development of a cost effective and efficient long-term electronics recycling program.

June 18: Several California cities propose resolutions aimed at forcing industry into stewardship agreements. In response to a new study by a coalition of environmental groups that projects the near future management costs for e-waste at up to one billion dollars, several communities have proposed resolutions that would put them on record in support of efforts to make manufacturers of PCs and other electronics products pay to have their wares recycled when they're no longer useful.

The new report on electronic waste, Poison PCs and Toxic TVs, can be found at www.cawrecycles.org.

April 24: CalRecycle awards contracts to study e-waste.
At its regular business meeting, CalRecycle approved two scopes of work and awarded contracts aimed at improving the understanding of the scope of the e-waste management and to improve procurement and end-of-life management practices. See Items 10 and 42/43 from the online agenda for the April meeting.

March 20: DTSC responds to MFF letter regarding CRTs.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a response to a letter from the Materials for the Future Foundation (MFF) clarifying the State's position on the management of cathode ray tubes (CRT). Due to the lead content, broken CRTs and those destined for disposal must be managed as a hazardous waste. This response effectively bans CRTs from disposal in California's municipal landfill. See a summary of DTSC's response or download the entire letter.

February 20: CalRecycle approves contract concepts to study e-waste.
At its regular business meeting, CalRecycle approved two contract concepts intended to improve the understanding of the scope of the e-waste management and to improve procurement and end-of-life management practices. See Items 17 and 19 from the online agenda for the February meeting. 

Last updated: August 17, 2017
Electronic Discards http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Electronics/
Contact: EWaste@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6269