E-waste Regulations

Statutes, Regulations, and Related Issues

Laws and policies concerning the proper management of electronic product discards are evolving rapidly. Since certain components of electronic devices may be considered hazardous due to heavy metal or other constituents, the end-of-life handling of some electronic discards is regulated by either federal (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act--RCRA) or State (Health and Safety Code) hazardous waste laws, or both. New regulations regarding the proper management of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) found in computer monitors and televisions were recently approved.

Attention: Revised regulations implementing changes to the recovery and recycling payment rates were adopted by the CIWMB (now CalRecycle) and took effect July 1, 2008.


SB 50 (Sher) was signed into law September 29, 2004 to clarify certain provisions of SB 20.

SB 20 (Sher) was signed into law on September 25, 2003.

During the 2001-2002 legislative session, two bills on electronic waste were passed but vetoed in California: SB 1619 by Senator Romero and SB 1523 by Senator Sher. Read the Governor's veto message for more information.

Additional Resources

The following links are provided to help both generators and handlers of electronic discards better understand the laws that may affect them.

  • Historic CIWMB (now CalRecycle) rulemaking files, containing the more important rulemaking documents, such as the Text of Proposed Regulations, Notice of Rulemaking, Initial and Final Statements of Reasons (ISOR/FSOR), Plain English Summary, Responses to Comments, and Final Text of Approved Regulations for all areas of CalRecycle responsibility are also available.
  • DTSC final regulations for Electronic Hazardous Wastes were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on February 1, 2003. These regulations replace the Emergency Regulations for CRTs that went into effect August 3, 2001.
  • U.S. EPA issued a final rules for CRTs and mercury-containing equipment. The EPA has enacted an exclusion from the definition of solid waste which streamlines RCRA management requirements for used CRTs and glass removed from CRTs sent for recycling.
  • California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC)
    California's hazardous waste regulator.
  • Summary of DTSC response letter to the Materials for the Future Foundation (MFF)
    Issued March 20, 2001, to clarify how California regulates cathode ray tubes (CRT).
  • Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) Memo on CRTs
    March 22, 2001 memo from the CIWMB (now CalRecycle) to provide guidance to LEAs on this emerging issue.
  • Selected provisions from California's Health and Safety Code
    Selected statutes that impact the management of hazardous waste in California.
  • U.S. EPA information on Region 9 regulatory programs
    Programs promoting the safe handling of hazardous wastes, cleaning up contaminated land, and reducing trash. (Note that California law may be more stringent than federal law.)
  • U.S. EPA Universal Waste Rule
    This rule is designed to reduce the amount of hazardous waste items in the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream, encourage recycling and proper disposal of certain common hazardous wastes, and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses that generate these wastes. (Note that California law may be more stringent than federal law.)

Last updated: July 29, 2011