Electronic equipment is everywhere in modern life. Both per capita ownership and discards of TVs, computers, tablets, smart phones and other electronics will likely increase rapidly for the foreseeable future.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection strongly recommends recycling all unwanted electronic products such as televisions, computers and cell phones. While Florida has no specific laws or regulations that apply to discarded electronic products, there are more general regulations that do apply. In a June 16, 2008, memorandum "Regulatory Guidelines for the Management of Unwanted Electronic Products," the department clarified the regulations that apply to unwanted electronics.
Unwanted electronics should be recycled to recover and reuse the product itself or materials like copper, steel or glass that the product contains. Other materials like lead (in the solder on circuit boards; in the glass cathode ray tube found in many televisions and computer monitors; in the batteries in uninterruptible power supplies) and mercury (in the fluorescent backlights in many flat panel displays) can be recycled to reuse the materials and to reduce the chance that these toxic materials could be released to the environment.
As more electronics recyclers open or expand their businesses in Florida, recycling is becoming more convenient and less expensive. Some businesses even buy unwanted computers and cell/smart phones for reuse or recycling.
Reuse, Recycling and Donating of Household Electronics
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A Note about CRT Televisions and Monitors
Before flat panel displays became popular, cathode ray tubes (CRT) displays were widely used in televisions and computer monitors. While some CRT displays are still in use today, very few new CRTs are being produced as electronics manufacturers follow consumer and business demand for flat panel TV and monitor displays.
As consumers and businesses replace their CRT monitors and televisions with flat panel displays, electronics recyclers receive the discarded CRT products. Unfortunately, the market for recycled CRT glass has become limited. Recycling markets for CRT glass are limited, costly and far away making CRT glass recycling a true challenge to e-scrap recyclers. As a result, some electronics recyclers will no longer accept CRT products. Many second-hand stores, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, no longer accept CRT products.
Recycling of Electronics for Businesses
Selecting an Electronics Recycler
There are numerous electronics recycling companies that offer a wide range of recycling services and different levels of expertise to different types of businesses, organizations or individuals. How do you pick one that meets your needs? Even though the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has no specific requirement for electronics recyclers, we recommend that you choose a recycler that has a third-party certification. If you opt to select an electronics recycler without that certification, we strongly recommend that the following four issues be taken into consideration:
Does the recycling facility have a DEP/EPA identification number?
What kind of insurance does the recycling facility have?
Where exactly does your electronic scrap end up?
How does the recycler ensure that the data on your electronic scrap is destroyed?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.