In the realm of solid waste, reuse means the equipment is still working and can be sold or donated, thus continuing the "life" of the product.
The term recycling means the equipment is disassembled and the components--such as plastic, glass, and metals--are recovered and used to manufacture new products. Some organizations are involved in both reuse and recycling while others focus on one activity.
What should be done with old electronic products? Computer monitors, televisions and other electronic equipment should NOT be disposed of with regular garbage, as this is illegal in California. Working TVs, monitors, computers and other consumer electronics can be sold or donated thereby prolonging their useful life. Nonfunctioning TVs and computer monitors that cannot be repaired should be recycled by an organization equipped to do so. Please refer to our regulatory issues section for updates on laws and policies affecting e-waste management.
For California in general, we maintain a directory of organizations that are approved to participate in the Covered Electronic Waste Recovery and Recycling Payment System (payment system) provided by California's Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003. Many of these organizations also collect and/or recycle other electronic wastes, and they can be located through our general public-focused directory. Options for other materials are listed in our recycling information page. It is important that generators of discarded equipment determine which options are appropriate for particular equipment and make inquiries to the organization to evaluate past performance. (Please review our disclaimer below regarding these resources.)
You might also check with your community's waste reduction coordinator to determine if there is a program available to you. Often that role is served by your local public works or environmental health department. If you need help tracking down a local contact, check with our Local Assistance staff assigned to your county.
Disclaimer: The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to its constituents so that solid wastes can be managed in accordance with all applicable laws and policies. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of laws and policies pertaining to the management of electronic product discards, CalRecycle cannot guarantee that organizations listed as resources within this website are in full compliance with applicable rules at all times. CalRecycle conducts ongoing efforts to determine the scope of these organizations' activities; however these may change without CalRecycle's knowledge. The inclusion or exclusion of an organization from this list does not constitute an endorsement of that organization's regulatory status or environmental performance. For additional information, please also refer to electronic waste management standards administered by the Department of Toxic Substances Control.