Electronics Recycling - Overview

Electronics Recycling - Overview

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Unwanted electronics are one of the nation's fastest growing waste streams. Often called e-scrap, electronics contain potentially hazardous material such as lead and mercury that can pose a risk to human health and the environment if not properly managed. Electronics also contain valuable material such as precious metals that can be recovered through responsible recycling. The recycling of electronics, beyond protecting the environment and conserving resources, also provides the raw material for recycling businesses and creates jobs.

South Carolina passed legislation in 2010 that banned the disposal of specific electronics in solid waste landfills effective July 1, 2011.

The legislation was revised on March 4, 2014 to add more specific requirements and recovery obligations for computer monitor and television manufacturers.

One key component of the legislation requires residents to recycle computers, computer monitors, printers and televisions. Specifically, the legislation says that residents "may not knowingly place or discard" a computer, computer monitor, printer and television "in any waste stream that is to be disposed of in a solid waste landfill."

Where can residents recycle unwanted electronics?

Here are the primary recycling opportunities available for residents.

  • Before recycling, if the product works, consider donating it to a non-profit organization.
  • Each of South Carolina's 46 counties as well as some municipalities provide collection programs and/or offer single-day collection events for unwanted electronics. To find out what is accepted in your community, visit www.scdhec.gov/recyclehereSC.
  • Many retailers and most manufacturers offer collection or take-back programs. Here is a list of the programs - all of which vary on how they work and what they accept. The list is not to be considered an endorsement of any retailer, manufacturer or program.

If donating or recycling unwanted electronics, delete all personal information.

Recycling options for businesses

Businesses should not throw away computers and other electronics and must follow all state and federal regulations regarding the proper management of this material. Generally, businesses should recycle electronics or donate them, if possible.