People all over the US rely on technology every day. However, as anyone who owns any type of electronic device will know, tech products aren’t meant to last forever. In fact, many electronics don’t have a very long lifespan at all, requiring you to buy them more frequently. This also means discarding your old devices, which often creates a serious problem. Most of us don’t see our electronic devices as being unsafe, as we can use them safely every day, but getting rid of them incorrectly can make them extremely dangerous for us and our environment.

E-waste recycling can help stop electronics ending up in landfills, but unfortunately, many people neglect to do this. The overwhelming majority of electronics don’t get recycled and end up leaking toxic waste in landfills. This can have grave effects and is extremely dangerous, leading many to wonder what laws are in place to prevent this from happening.

Why Do Electronics Need to Be Recycled?

Under certain conditions, our everyday electronic devices can turn into hazardous waste. Ryan Smith, an organic scientist and the founder and owner of Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control, shared with us that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act “controls hazardous waste, including some toxic electronic waste.” Electronics can seep this hazardous waste into the soil and water, which is extremely dangerous to those around it and our entire environment. Waste that ends up in landfills is also often burned, which is extremely dangerous for electronic devices. When electronics are burned in landfills, they realize toxic gases that put workers at risk and spread far beyond the landfills. As most electronics currently become waste in developing countries, it’s extremely important to have laws that require this waste to be taken care of properly and to ensure that resources like printer recycling are available to those who need it. 

Not only is e-waste a huge threat to our environment, safety, and health, but allowing these devices to go to landfills is extremely wasteful. Many electronic devices contain precious metals like gold and silver, as well as other non-renewable resources. These materials are still usable and in demand, so there’s no reason to allow them to go to waste in a landfill. Recycling ensures that materials like this can be reused and prevent us from having to source new materials to make devices in the future. 

What Federal Laws are in Place?

Currently, there is no federal law that prevents people from throwing e-waste into the garbage. While there have been attempts to pass laws that require you to recycle your old electronics, nothing has ever been passed. Although no federal laws prevent this, it’s important to educate the public of the dangers of irresponsibly throwing away electronics and providing e-waste recycling programs to communities. 

Vhanessa Hair, sustainability expert with USInsuranceAgents, shared with us the following. “Federal e-waste regulation is non-existent in the United States, but certain states have adopted state-based standards. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) governs most federal laws regarding solid waste. E-waste legislation holds manufacturers more accountable.”

Are There State Laws Requiring E-Waste Recycling?

Just because federal laws don’t require you to recycle e-waste doesn’t mean you can’t get in legal trouble for disposing of it improperly. While there isn’t a federal law requiring that electronics be recycled, many states have implemented their own laws over recent years. This makes it mandatory for both individual households and businesses to recycle electronics like  desktop computers, laptops, printers, and televisions. 

However, you need to be careful regarding who you work with to recycle your unwanted devices. Not all businesses that claim they recycle responsibly and according to the law actually do so. If your state has a recycling act for electronics, you could end up paying thousands of dollars if you’re caught discarding them incorrectly. You could end working with a business that doesn’t actually recycle responsibly, which could end up getting you in trouble, even if you didn’t know. You also need to follow data protection laws and ensure that no private information can be found on your devices, so it’s important to work with a recycling center that also handles data destruction. 

At Newtech Recycling, we provide e-waste recycling programs to businesses and organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, all of which legally require you to recycle your old and unwanted electronics. We can help ensure that all of your old and unwanted devices are taken care of properly. 

Ensure Your Electronics are Recycled Safely

It’s extremely important that everyone makes an effort to prevent their old electronics from becoming hazardous waste, and you may even be legally required to have it recycled. If you’re wondering what to do with an old tablet or any other unwanted electronics, Newtech Recycling can help ensure that they end up in the right place. We have an R2-certification, which ensures responsible e-waste recycling. At Newtech Recycling, we’re proud to be our part to help protect our environment and the health and safety of people all over the world. 

To learn more about the services we offer at Newtech Recycling or to find out how you can get your old electronics recycled, contact us today.