In 2003, California enacted landmark legislation that established a funding system for the collection and recycling of certain electronic wastes. CalRecycle, in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), works to implement this important legislation. The intent of the Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) Recycling Program is to enhance the availability of convenient recycling options for consumers so that products containing toxic compounds are not disposed of inappropriately. 

Key elements of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 that affect product consumers include:

  • The collection of a CEW recycling fee at the retail point of sale of covered products
  • Requirements on manufacturers to provide consumer information regarding recycling opportunities.  

CEW Recycling Fee

Beginning January 1, 2005, a CEW recycling fee has been assessed on certain "covered electronic devices" sold in California. "Covered" means covered by the law, and includes most video display products such as computer monitors, televisions, laptop computers, and DVD players. The fee is collected at the time of retail sale to California consumers, including Internet and catalog sales.

Collected CEW recycling fees are deposited in the Electronic Waste Recovery and Recycling Account managed by the State of California and are used to provide payments to approved collectors and recyclers, fostering the development of recycling opportunities and offsetting the cost of properly managing these types of products at the end of their useful lives. Due to hazardous components, it is unlawful to dispose of most covered electronic devices with regular municipal waste.

It is important to note that the CEW recycling fee is not a deposit, and that the covered products do not contain "redemption value", as do many beverage containers in California. Consumers are not entitled to reimbursement of the fee when covered products are recycled. Rather, the intent of the fee is to reduce, or eliminate, the costs associated with properly recycling this material when it becomes waste.

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