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Recycling Electronics Responsibly

Are you wondering what to do with your old electronics? America's growing use of electronics has created a new environmental challenge: electronic waste, or e-waste.

What is Considered E-waste?

The following unusable electronics are considered e-waste:

  • Audio and Stereo Equipment
  • Cellular Phones
  • Computers and Computer Peripherals
  • Telephones, Fax and Copying Machines
  • Televisions and Monitors
  • VCRs and DVD Players
  • Video Cameras
  • Video Game Consoles
  • Wireless Devices

What's the Problem?

  • Electronic equipment contain toxic compounds such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants.
  • These toxic compounds can leach into the soil and water supplies or contaminate our air, if electronics are sent to landfills or incinerated.
  • Discarded electronics, called e-waste, are the fastest growing waste stream in the U.S. By 2016 over 3 billion electronics will be scrapped or an average of about 400 million units a year1.
  • In 2007, less than 19% of obsolete electronics are being recycled2. And the majority of the electronics collected for recycling or re-use are exported to developing countries with no worker safety or environmental programs in places3.
  • Local governments are spending more of their limited tax dollars managing e-waste.

References

  1. Electronics TakeBack Coalition
  2. Electronic Waste Management in the United States, Approach 1, Table 3.1 EPA530-R-08-009 US Environmental Protection Agency, July 2008. Available
  3. Electronic TakeBack Coalition and Basel Action Network

What are the Options for Safely Recycling My Electronics?

Choose a Responsible Recycler

EPA's Certification Programs for Electronics Recyclers Website provides information on two accredited certification standards for electronics recycling: the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) and the e-Stewards® standards.

The R2 Solutions organization reaches out to customers of electronic recyclers, providing them with information about the benefits of partnering with R2-certified e-recyclers. The organization is also a resource for recyclers, providing them with information about the benefits of being R2 certified.

The e-Steward Certification program is a new certification program that was developed by a group of North American electronics recyclers in association with The Basel Action Network (BAN) and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. The e-Steward certification program is an independently audited and accredited electronic waste recycler certification program that forbids the dumping of toxic e-waste in developing countries, local landfills and incinerators; the use of prison labor; and the unauthorized release of private data.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has developed the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS) certification that establishes best management practices for the industry.

How Can I Be a Responsible Consumer?

How to Buy Greener Electronics

Greater awareness about the end-of-life issues with electronics has resulted in the development of tools, such as EPA's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), to help purchasers evaluate laptops, desktop computers, and monitors using environmental standards, such as Environmentally Sensitive Materials, Materials Selection, Design for End-of-Life, Product Longevity, Energy Use, End-of-Life Management, Packaging, and Corporate Performance.

Manufacturer TakeBack Programs

Keep in mind the end-of-life costs when you are shopping for electronics. Some manufacturers are offering TakeBack programs that provide "cradle to grave" management for their products which includes taking back and recycling their products. TakeBack programs create an incentive to the manufacturers to design for recycling, increase the use of recycled materials, and decrease the use of toxic materials. The Electronics TakeBack Coalition provides a list of manufacturers that offer TakeBack programs; just click on "Corporate Responsibility." The Electronics TakeBack Coalition is a national coalition of organizations promoting sustainable and responsible practices throughout the electronics industry.


  • Audiovox
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Emerson
  • Funai Funai Corporation & P&F USA, Inc.
  • Hitachi America Ltd.
  • Imation
  • JVC Corporation
  • Kyocera-Mita
  • Logitech
  • Magnavox
  • Memorex
  • Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America
  • MSI
  • Oki Data Americas Inc.
  • Orion
  • Panasonic Corp of North America
  • Philco
  • Philips Consumer Lifestyle
  • PLR IP Holdings, LLC (Polaroid)
  • Sanyo Manufacturing Corporation
  • Sharp Electronics Corporation
  • Sylvania
  • Symphonic
  • Toshiba America Information Systems
  • VIZIO
  • Yamaha

Other Manufacturer Recycling Information

What Businesses Recycle Electronics in Utah?

The following list of Utah electronics recyclers is provided as a courtesy and not as an endorsement nor a recommendation by the Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste.

  • Earth911
    Up-to-date information on where to recycle electronics.

Electronics Recyclers

Endorsement Disclaimer

Reference to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or to any trade, firm, or corporation is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the State of Utah, or its officers, employees or agents. Any list of organizations providing services that may be of interest to the public is not intended to be a complete list and is not regularly updated.

For more information on Electronics Recycling, please contact :

Pat Sheehan
Environmental Scientist
DEQ, Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control
Phone: (801) 536-0248