Concerned about tossing out that old TV or your other outdated electronics? Check your state laws. Nineteen states now have e-waste recycling laws, and more are on the way.
Indiana has joined 18 other states and New York City in passing an e-waste, or electronics recycling law. E-cycling programs are already in place or are about to start in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.
Several more states are considering e-waste legislation, including New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Vermont, Colorado, South Carolina, Kentucky, Iowa and Utah.
In addition, Hawaii, Missouri, and Texas are considering laws that would add televisions to their current laws, which only cover computer recycling. TVs are also not yet a part of programs in Oklahoma and Virginia.
You can get state-by-state listings of current programs, what can be recycled and pending legislation at the Electronics TakeBack Coalition site. Some states also have disposal bans, barring some electronics from being discarded in landfills or incinerators.
All the states with current e-waste laws, except for California, have adopted “producer takeback,” or producer responsibility, laws that require the manufacturers to pay for the collection and recycling of old products.
The Indiana law is similar to the law passed in 2007 by Minnesota, and requires manufacturers of video display devices (TVs, monitors, and laptops) to collect and recycle 60 percent by weight of the volume of products they sold in the previous year in the state. After the first two years, manufacturers who fail to meet those goals will pay an additional recycling fee for every pound they fall short of their goal.
While the goals are based on sales of video display devices, the program allows consumers, public schools and small businesses to recycle a larger group of products for free, including TVs, computers, laptops, keyboards, printers, fax machines, DVD players, and video cassette recorders. The Indiana program begins collection in April 2010.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates