Business, School, Agency, Institutions and Other Regulated Generators of Electronic Waste

Agency: Environmental Quality

Non-residential generators of electronic waste must determine whether or not their waste is hazardous. They must also determine the amount of all hazardous waste they generate within one month. The U.S. EPA and the State of California  have tested electronic products and many have failed the standard test for toxicity called the Toxicity Characteristics Leaching Procedure. Rather than sending waste to be tested, many generators find it more economical to manage their electronic waste as hazardous due to the lead, mercury, and other materials in them. In Michigan, the DEQ has promulgated rules allowing common electronic products containing circuit boards and cathode ray tubes (CRTs) (containing leaded glass) to be managed as universal waste. Universal waste is more easily recycled than hazardous waste.

What Generators Need to Know about Electronic Waste. A fact sheet for information about how the regulations may impact the generator of electronic waste.

Notification requirements: For businesses handling 11,000 pounds or more of electronics and all other universal waste, notify as a large quantity universal waste handler when handling 11,000 pounds or more and obtain a site identification number.

Notifications may be done by applying online through MiTAPS or by mailing in the form EQP5150. There is a $50 application fee. To check if a site identification number has already been assigned to a collection site, go to the Waste Data System and select advanced search. It is recommended to search using the street number in the address field and zip code in the postal code field. If you need assistance looking up a number or filling out the application, call the Environmental Assistance Center at 800-662-9278.

The following Michigan regulatory guidance documents contain specific information about electronic waste.

Managing electronic waste can be as simple as remembering the 3 Rs:  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle …

REDUCE

Buying Environmentally Friendly IT equipment:  The United States Environmental Protection Agency sponsored a new purchasing program for buying more environmentally friendly IT equipment.  Called the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool or EPEAT (www.epeat.net), "EPEAT is a procurement tool to help institutional purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products."

REUSE

If donating your electronics or selling for reuse, keep in mind that all data should be properly removed (this means more than deleting your files) and the quicker you move the equipment on, the more valuable it is to the next owner.

eBay Rethink. On this site you can find information, tools and solutions that make it easy - and even profitable - to find new users for idle computers and electronics, and responsibly recycle unwanted products.

Recycle Bank from the Consumer Electronics Association:  Recycle Bank is an online resource that helps meet consumers' desire to be both tech-savvy and environmentally-friendly.  It contains information on where to find recycling sites, smart purchasing guidelines for consumer electronics and how to be an environmentally-friendly consumer of electronics.

RECYCLE

CHOOSING A RECYCLER: Currently there is no state or federal certification program for electronic waste recyclers. Recycling could mean anything from collecting electronics for refurbishment to dismantling materials and processing into commodities.  Following are some documents that could help you find out about services provided by recycling companies that will fit your needs and ensure that your waste electronics are handled properly.

Michigan Recycled Materials Market Directory. This on-line directory contains lists of recycling companies ranging from drums and barrels to tires and electronics.

Electronics Recyclers Listed in the Michigan Recycled Materials Market Directory

U.S. EPA approved CRT recycling exporters. This website contains the list of U.S EPA approved exporters of CRTs destined for recycling per the CRT rule.

Federal Electronics Challenge, Checklist for the Selection of Electronics Reuse and Recycling Services. This checklist includes questions you may want to ask a recycler prior to contracting with them. You will want to know some basic information when securing an electronics recycler, regardless of size of your operation. The Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) is a voluntary program that encourages government agencies to manage electronics waste in an environmentally responsible way. FEC has put together this checklist to assist in selecting an electronics recycler that best fits your needs.

BUSINESS-SPONSORED COMPUTER RECOVERY PROGRAMS: Following are links to manufacturer sponsored takeback and computer recycling programs. Ask your computer supplier, distributor or brand owner to find out if a takeback program is available.