The rapid turnover in computer technology is having a troubling side effect: each year millions of computers come to the end of their useful life. Every year 5-7 million computers, televisions, stereos, cell phones, electronic appliances and toys become obsolete in the United States.
Some of these electronics are being recycled, but there is not sufficient infrastructure for collecting, reusing, and recycling electronics. The majority are ending up in landfills or incinerators.
What are the toxic and hazardous materials in your electronics?
Lead, cadmium and other metals (from cathode ray tubes found in monitors and televisions)
Chromium, lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, nickel, zinc, silver and gold (from printed circuit boards found in all components)
Nickel, cadmium, lithium, mercury and lead (from batteries found in CPUs, laptops and portable printers)
Mercury (from relays and switches found in CPUs, monitors and terminals)
In October 2009 Governor Doyle signed SB 107 / Wisconsin ACT 50 – Wisconsin’s Electronics Recycling Law. The bill requires manufacturers of video display devices, computers and printers sold to Wisconsin households and public K-12 schools to assume responsibility for the collection and proper disposal of electronic devices. It establishes e-recycling goals based on market share and allows for the sale or banking of e-recycling credits that exceed these goals. The bill provides an additional incentive to recover electronic devices from rural counties. The bill also bans the landfilling or incineration of certain electronic devices. Manufacturers, collectors, retailers and recyclers are regulated under the bill. All, except retailers, must register with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. At a time when local governments are facing great pressure to freeze budgets and downsize government, this bill provides a fair, responsible and reasonable funding source for recycling that is directly linked to the product.
Banned from Wisconsin landfills:
The following electronics will be banned from landfill or incinerator disposal as of September 1, 2010: Consumer computers, Consumer printers, Video display devices, Computer peripherals, Fax machines, DVD players, VCRs and other video players, Phones with video displays (cell phones). For more information, see Which Electronics Does E-Cycle Wisconsin Include?