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February 10, 2006

California E-Waste

A new state law in California will go into effect on February 9, requiring that all consumer electronics be recycled instead of being thrown away. An attempt to reduce the polluting effects of lead, mercury, and copper on environments surrounding landfills and beyond, the law will encourage electronics users to dispose of everything from iPods to microwave ovens at household hazardous waste collection centers. (More info). Here?s the twist: ?We have no plans, nor do we have the resources, to go door-to-door to determine who is throwing away what in their trash,’? says a spokesperson for the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control. ?Most Californians care about their environment. We feel if we tell them what to do, and assist them, they?ll do the right thing.’? Do the right thing, California. Source:

“We have over 500,000 tons of toxic electronics that are being illegally disposed of in landfills in California every year,” said Mark Murphy, from Tech Waste. To learn more about Tech Waste visit their website. Electronic waste contains toxic substances, including lead and other heavy metals the state says could leak into groundwater. “Lead is a neuro-toxin at low levels. When you get it into your system, particularly for kids, it can cause developmental problems, both for your physical and mental abilities,” said Karl Palmer, from CA Toxic Substances Control. Consumers already pay an extra few dollars in recycling fees when they buy a television or computer monitor. This year, environmentalists will push state lawmakers to add a California Refund Value of 5 to 10 cents to alkaline batteries, much like what’s charged with bottles and cans. Californians use 500 million of these a year and safely dispose of less than 1 percent of them. Counties already have hazardous collection sites that’ll soon have to take in the electronic waste. Starting in July, retailers will have to take back cell phones and their rechargeable batteries. But some want to make e-recycling less troublesome. “We’ve got to come up with some easy, logical places for people to take their e-waste routinely, not wait for a monthly or quarterly collection events,” said Michelle Marlowe, a recycler. Source:

As part of its implementation of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act, DTSC has tested certain types of electronic devices to determine which would be hazardous waste when discarded, only video display devices that DTSC “determines are presumed to be,when discarded, a hazardous waste” are potentially covered by the Act. Currently, these devices include:

cathode ray tube (CRT) devices (including televisions and computer monitors);
LCD desktop monitors;
laptop computers with LCD displays;
LCD televisions; and
plasma televisions.

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  • At 1:27 pm on February 10, 2006, kenju commented:

    I live within 6 miles of the current city waste facility here, and computers and related equipment are recycled all the time. I sure hope that the poeple of CA will voluntarily do that.

    Michele sent me.

  • At 4:48 pm on February 10, 2006, Carmi commented:

    Makes perfect sense to me. I’ve always found it funny how North American news media pick on China for its lax disposal laws – think images of Chinese landfills – but totally ignore similar practices in our own – and Judy’s – backyards.

    It’s about time that this attitude changes.

  • At 11:31 pm on February 10, 2006, Keb commented:

    I’m not positive but I believe Utah had a law requring all old computer monitors be taken to a depository. If it wasn’t a law, it was a rule made by many business owners. However, if I needed, I could have thrown my home monitor out with the trash and I don’t think anyone would have been the wiser.

    Thanks for stopping by earlier and being grown up about it. I’ve deleted a lot of not so grown up comments today. See ya later, K

  • At 8:42 am on February 12, 2006, Electric Short commented:

    this will keep the honest people honest………

  • At 8:43 am on February 12, 2006, jude commented:

    where I work we have a storeroom shelf dedicated to old monitors because nobody knows what to do with them… there are about 5 of them sitting there.. here via micheles.

  • At 8:43 pm on February 12, 2006, Suzanne commented:

    When I lived in Europe, we had different garbage cans for different things, for example: one for batteries, one for cleaners (nailpolish), aerisol cans, one for wet garbage, one for paper, one for glass…etc. On different days you sat out the respective can for collection. Get caught throwing the wrong thing away, and you ended up with a fine. They made it convenient so everyone did it.

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