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FAQ: Electronic Waste

Tabletop of neatly organized electronics
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

FAQ: Electronic Waste

Michigan’s electronic recycling law passed in 2008 to address concerns about the large number of consumer electronics that were entering the market and the waste stream. These electronics may contain harmful toxins, many with reuse potential. The law was implemented to properly manage these devices and help protect the public from potential release of these toxins.

  • Batteries contain acids that can cause chemical burns and retain an electrical charge that can present a fire hazard. Damaged lithium-ion batteries can also experience thermal runaway, burning quickly and violently, reaching temperatures as high as 900 F if their battery casing is breached and the contents is exposed to air. This can start a fire at your home or business, in the garbage truck, at the landfill, or at a material recycling facility. When battery terminals touch, they can cause a spark and start a fire too, particularly during transport when they are bouncing around if not packaged properly. Unwanted batteries should be packaged in a way that both prevents the battery terminals from touching and prevents damage to the battery casings. This can be done by packing each battery in a fully enclosed inner packaging made of non-conductive materials like a plastic bag or taping the terminals and placing them in a container that protect the casings. View these short videos, and learn more at

  • In 2008, the legislature passed a law requiring manufacturers who sell computers, televisions, and printers in Michigan to provide free and convenient recycling options to Michigan residents and small businesses. To learn more the takeback program requirements, see the E-waste Takeback Law Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more about the handling requirements for e-waste generated from households and non-households, see the electronic equipment and universal waste guidance.

  • E-waste recycling options differ for households and non-households. To find e-waste recycling options for households, search the following:

    To find e-waste recycling options for non-households, including commercial and industrial businesses, non-profits, municipalities, hospitals, churches, etc., search the following or consider working with a waste consultant/vendor:

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