Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their useful lives. Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. According to the UN Environment Program (UN EP), every year 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide and the amounts continue to grow (is increasing by 2-3 times every year) and only 20% of these metric tons (Mt) of e-waste was recycled through appropriate channels, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year.In the US alone, a recent report by the EPA indicates that over 140,000 computers and cell phones were discarded or thrown into landfills every year and yet, there is No U.S. federal law that requires the recycling of e-waste.
Dictionaries & Search Terms
Be Concerned About Electronic Waste
E-waste is a rather new phenomenon. There is no federal Regulation in place that formally addresses the issue of e-waste, although there have been bills introduced in Congress. However, several states that have passed laws with respect to e-waste. Even though most states have passed laws addressing e-waste, there are still more than 20 states without any legislation addressing e-waste. A large issue with e-waste is that many of the electronics, if not properly disposed of, could potentially cause hazards if left in landfills where they would emit, lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and other toxins in soil and possibly water streams. This guide will focus on three states New York, California and Minnesota, with laws in place addressing e-waste. Each of these states takes a different approach in addressing e-waste. New York has passed regulation that is largely producer responsibility; California has more of a consumer-based regulation that is an advanced recycling fee model; and Minnesota’s regulation is also Producer Responsibility but currently only covers video display devices. As technology continues to grow and products become obsolete at an advancing pace, so does the need for laws to be in place to address the issue of e-waste.
Map of States With E-Waste Regulation in Place
Environmental Protection Agency on E-Waste