Why do consumers need to recycle electronics instead of placing them in the landfill?
Electronic equipment contains many toxic materials that are harmful to humans and the environment. Over 1,000 materials are used to make electronic products and their components, and those products contain many heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. If they go the landfill, those metals can potentially leach into water sources. Some states even ban electronics from their landfills.
Just as important as avoiding the potential hazards of landfilling electronics is recovering the metals, plastics, and glass that are used to make electronics so they can be used to make new electronics or other products. This reduces the need to process raw materials to make new products, which saves our natural resources and protects our environment.Texas is one of 20 states that has both television and computer recycling laws. These types of regulations are referred to as producer responsibility laws, and they place shared responsibility for disposal of products on the manufacturers, sellers, and consumers of those products. The intent is to influence manufacturers to consider the life cycle impact of products during the planning and design phase of production so the disposal of products will not present environmental hazards or compromise the safety and well-being of consumers.
Used computer equipment is a rapidly growing source of waste in Texas and across the country. While computers contain valuable resources that can be reused or recycled, historically rates for reusing and recycling used computer equipment have remained low. That is because there were previously few choices available to consumers to recycle those products.
In September 2008, Texas consumers were provided new options to have their used computer equipment collected and recycled for free. HB 2714 requires computer manufacturers selling in the state to establish free and convenient programs to collect and recycle their own brand of desktops, laptops and monitors sold to consumers. It also requires retailers selling computer equipment to sell only the products of those manufacturers who develop such recycling programs and file their recovery plans with the State of Texas. Here are some of the highlights of the law:
- Each manufacturer is responsible only for its own brand(s) of computer equipment. The rules define computer equipment as a monitor, a desktop computer or laptop, and an accompanying keyboard and mouse made by the same manufacturer.
- Manufacturers are required to offer collection and recycling only for computer equipment purchased primarily for personal or home-business use, regardless of when it was sold, not just computer equipment purchased after September 1, 2008.
- Consumers are responsible for any confidential information left on the computer equipment.
- Retailers are not permitted to sell any new computer equipment from a manufacturer unless the manufacturer appears on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) list of manufacturers that have submitted a recovery plan and notification of a compliant collection program to the TCEQ. The list is updated regularly by TCEQ and is available online at tceq.com/assistance/P2Recycle/electronics/manufacturer-list.html.
- Consumers should contact the retailer where the equipment was purchased or the manufacturer for their computer equipment for information about their recycling options.
In 2011, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 329 regulating television recycling into law. The regulation requires manufacturers and retailers selling televisions in Texas to provide free, convenient recycling programs for individual consumers. Manufacturers and retailers must register with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the TCEQ makes that list available online at tceq.texas.gov. The television regulations place requirements on manufacturers, retailers, and recyclers of televisions:
- Manufacturers must label new televisions with their brand name, develop a recycling program either as an individual company or in partnership with other manufacturers, use only registered recyclers, and submit their recovery plan as well as annual reports to the TCEQ.
- Retailers selling new televisions must sell only televisions that are labeled with the manufacturer brand, provide consumers with information on recycling options, and order and sell televisions only from manufacturers listed with the TCEQ.
- Recyclers must register with the TCEQ, appropriately manage televisions according to law, and report annually on the weight/volume of the televisions they receive and recycle.
Where can Lewisville residents recycle their electronics?
Lewisville residents can recycle electronics locally at the Residential Convenience Center on the second Saturday of every month between 9 a.m. and noon along with their household hazardous waste. This facility is open only to residents living within the city limits of Lewisville, and information about the program is available on the City of Lewisville web site at cityoflewisville.com.
Residents are also encouraged to contact local retailers who sell computer equipment and televisions as well as manufacturers on the TCEQ lists to request recycling options are made available locally for their products. Following are some local locations that provide recycling of electronics.
Lewisville Goodwill Retail Center
919 W. Main Street
Goodwill Industries and Dell have partnered to create RECONNECT, a free program for consumers to reuse and responsibly recycle unwanted electronics. It’s easy and it’s free. Simply bring in your computer equipment to your local Goodwill store. Proceeds from resale value of donations will be returned to Goodwill Industries to support their mission of creating job opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment. Please note this location does not accept televisions. Visit the RECONNECT web site for more information:
997 W. Valley Ridge
Staples makes it easy for customers to recycle electronics such as computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all–in–ones at any Staples store. All brands are accepted, regardless of whether the equipment was purchased at Staples. Smaller computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge. Large equipment may incur a charge to cover handling, transport, product disassembly and recycling.
Other Items Accepted for Recycling:
Ink and Toner Cartridges PDAs
Cell Phones Pagers
Digital Cameras Rechargeable Batteries
Best Buy will accept most consumer electronics, including televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, flat screens up to 60 inches, desktop computers, notebooks, videocassette recorders, DVD players and phones.
2601 S. Stemmons
Electronics Recyclers International
Lakeside Trade Center, Building 1
500 Enterprise Drive, Suite 400
Flower Mound 75028
972.829.4230 or 800.884.8466