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Is It Illegal to Throw Away Electronics? - blog post image

Is It Illegal to Throw Away Electronics?

Laws governing what items can be disposed of in landfills have become increasingly stringent as the impact of modern waste items has become clear and concerns over the environment have increased in recent years. Most of us know items like batteries, medical waste,and used motor oil must be properly disposed of, and retailers of these items often offer recycling programs.

In recent years, we’ve come to realize that with many electronic devices containing toxic substances such as lead, mercury, chromium, and cadmium, electronic devices can pose just as much danger to the environment. As we’ve come to better understand the impact of e-waste, many states have passed legislation governing electronics disposal. Let’s explore some of these regulatory requirements and what to do if your state has made dumping of electronics illegal.

Laws From State to State

According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, 25 states had passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling as of 2016. Many of these laws place liability for the cost of recycling on the manufacturer. The site provides a number of charts overviewing the specifics of each state’s laws, and provides visitors with access to legislative toolkits for understanding and comparing laws across the United States.

California and New York Enforce the Vision

Numerous states have outlawed the disposal of electronics and provide guidance on recycling, but California has taken it to another level, placing the liability of recycling - and in some cases, the costs - on the consumer. Electronics cannot be disposed of in a manner that they end up in a landfill, and if it does occur, the state enforces the law through hefty monetary fines. In recent years, New York and Illinois have imposed similar fines on those caught attempting to dispose of electronics.

Ever Expanding Scope

As our technology advances, and devices become more complicated, so to does the list of devices that cannot be disposed of by traditional means. States have begun to outlaw the disposal of all sorts of electronics, from cell phones to printers to monitors, as well as computers and other devices. Electronic devices, once built to last upwards of ten years, are now created to last a fraction of the time. Advances in technology exacerbate the problem, leading to a constant churn of devices, with old devices considered to be obsolete. To combat this rise in the sheer volume of waste generated, a number of states have begun to incentivise manufacturers and retailers to sponsor recycling programs with quotas that match their sales volumes in order to avoid fines or fees.

Your Trusted Recycling Partner

At 1 Green Planet, we know the laws that govern e-waste, and our mission is to offer consumers and small businesses alike 100% compliant recycling with 0% impact on the environment. Our facilities are able to also provide secure data destruction that is compliant with local and federal requirements, such as HIPAA and laws governing financial data management. Reach out today and explore your options on how to properly dispose of your electronic waste without risking fines or worse.