As technology continues to surge every year, so too does the amount of electronic waste that accompanies it. In 2009, “end of life” TVs, computers and their peripherals (printers, ink cartridges, scanners, fax machines, etc.) mice, keyboards, and cell phones totaled and astonishing 2.37 million short tons. That’s a lot of added waste that, just a few decades ago, was never even thought to exist.
But if we can’t just throw our e-waste away, what are the country’s rules and regulations on how to appropriately discard or recycle ink cartridges, computer hardware, cell phones and all the other e-waste?
First, you have to decide whether your e-waste is worth donating or recycling. If you want to provide a community service or receive a tax deduction, then donating is probably your answer. If you’re looking to get your electrical equipment back onto the market for resale or remanufactured for raw materials, then recycling is your other avenue.
Thus far, 25 states across the U.S. have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling, and several more are passing new laws or improving current ones. Besides California and Utah, all state laws use the Producer Responsibility approach, in which the manufactures are responsible for the paying for recycling. Further, Producer Responsibility attempts to relieve local government of the costs of managing end of life responsibilities by requiring manufacturers to include the cost of recycling within the product price. It places duty upon the producers (typically brand owners) to do their best in reducing toxicity and waste from their own products. Here’s a list of the states that fall under the Producer Responsibility law:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Unlike the other 23 states that fall under this Producer Responsibility laws, California and Utah have passed Consumer Fee Laws (ARF) and Manufacturer Education Laws, respectively. But if only half of the country has passed legislation to address the increasing e-waste in America, when/where does that place the other half of the country?
After all, in 2009, only 25 percent of TVs, computer products (including printers, scanners and ink cartridges) and cell phones were collected for recycling. That’s only a sliver of the whopping 2.37 billion short tons reported as trash. And in case you’re not completely sold on the benefits of recycling ink cartridges, computers and other e-waste, just ponder this: Something as simple as recycling one million laptops is the equivalent to the amount of electricity used by nearly 4,000 homes in one year. Not to mention all the valuable metals within our electronics that, when recycled, can help toward the production of new products at a much cheaper cost for the manufacture and the consumer.
For additional information on how you and your company can properly recycle or discard e-waste within your state, visit your government page or the United States Environmental Protection Agency site for rules and regulations.
This is a sponsored post written by Dillon Wallace on behalf of Quill.com, an eco-friendly, online retailer of business products with a ink & toner recycling program for medium to small sized businesses.