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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

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Regional Frequently Asked Questions

Please consult the National Links first, as they will probably contain the answers you are looking for. The following are questions of particular frequency or interest to people and businesses in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Hawaii.


For Households

I have a broken vacuum cleaner or microwave, isn’t that "e-waste?"

Currently, the federal government defines these devices as “solid waste,” so can be disposed of by a household in the usual manner. However, these devices can contain valued functional components, scrap material, or elements with some hazards. For example, please be careful with the electrical charge that may still be in a microwave’s capacitor. Please consult your state and local governments, or local reuse/recycler before proceeding with disposal.

I have an old cellphone to recycle, where should I go?

If you live in the state of California, you can either return your cell phone to a local retailer, or find a cell phone collector/recycler through the state’s databaseExiting EPA (disclaimer)

Otherwise, a number of national businesses have partnered with the EPA’s Plug-In program to take back old cellphones. You can find out more here. Please note, there are many organizations happy to receive donations of functional mobile telephones, even if they are old.

Where do I find a local reuse/recycler?

Please consult the Resources in my State section of this website, and check in advance of any trip, as the information may be out of date. Additionally, check out the "Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products" under eCycling Home.

I don’t live in Region 9, but I want to find information for where I live?

Please consult the Where You Live link in the National Links.

How do I know my e-waste is being recycled properly?

Unfortunately the principle of “buyer beware” remains in effect. Helpfully, the federal government has two guides that may be of use to you. The first is the Guidelines for Materials Management (PDF) developed for businesses, the second is a downloadable checklist (PDF) (4 pp, 106k) Exiting EPA (disclaimer) to help an institution select an electronics recycling service. These resources can give you the sorts of questions to ask a perspective collector/recycler, and you can decide if you are satisfied with their answers.

I am in the market for a new computer, where can I find the most environmentally-friendly computer that I can afford?

The Green Electronics Council hosts a searchable database Exiting EPA (disclaimer) of desktops, notebooks, and monitors now sold that achieve one of three levels of environmental criteria.

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For Businesses and Organizations

How do I get "EPA Certification" for my electronics recycling business?

The US EPA does not have, or plan to have, a certification program for electronic recyclers. To learn more about the US EPA’s stakeholder process for best management practices and existing Third Party certification opportunities, consult the Frequent Questions link under "National Links."

Can I use the EPA logo on my website? I have seen others use it.

Unless you have received explicit permission to use EPA’s logo, either through an EPA partnership program or in a one-on-one agreement, you are not allowed to use EPA’s logo. You will be asked to remove the logo from your website before the Office of Inspector General is involved.

What is the Plug-In To eCycling program, and how do I join?

This voluntary partnership program is run out of Headquarters, and you can learn more about it through the Plug-In (logo) link at the top of this main page.

I will be transporting electronic discards into Region 9, what should I do to avoid breakage?

The federal government defines some electronic waste as universal waste, and you can learn more about transporting requirements for universal waste linked in Regulations/Standards under "National Links." Please note that California has its own laws for electronic waste and universal waste, and you should check California’s information (see State Contact) before shipping. Additionally, all DOT cargo transportation laws apply.

I want to export electronic devices or components for reuse or recycling overseas, what do I need to know?

The US EPA has developed a rule for Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) under universal waste regulations that includes export provisions for reuse and recycling. You can find out more about this rule in the federal regulatory requirements in "Regulations/Standards" in "National Links." For specific export requirements, go to Part 261.40 and Part 261.41 of the rule on page 23 of the .pdf of the linked Federal Register Notice. Beyond US EPA requirements, be sure to check with your state (see State Contact) which may have requirements that differ from the federal government’s. Additionally, please ensure you are in compliance with the receiving/importing country’s requirements. If you cannot find a suitable answer from this material, please consult the Region 9 eCycling Program Coordinator with your question.

I have a digital projectors to recycle, what regulations should I be aware of?

The lamps in your digital projectors may contain mercury. You can learn more about your regulatory requirements under "universal waste" in the Regulations/Standards link in "National Links".

I have laboratory equipment to recycle, what regulations should I be aware of?

Your equipment may contain mercury-switches to qualify as universal waste, or enough lead or other substances to fail the Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure (TCLP) test for hazardous waste, or may present a radioactive risk. In any event, consult with the Region 9 eCycling Program Coordinator to receive the most relevant advice.

I am completing my due diligence requirements for electronic recycling, what should I consider when selecting a business to work with?

The federal government has several tools that might help you assess and select an electronic recycling service. The first is the Guidelines for Materials Management developed for businesses, the second is a downloadable checklist (PDF) (4 pp, 106k) to help an institution select an electronics recycling service, the third is a checklist (PDF) (9 pp, 159k) for an on-site review of an electronics recycling facility.

I am a European business, doesn't the US have its own version of WEEE?

The federal government does not currently have regulations that bundle the diverse collection of consumer products at their end of life as a single class of wastes. Instead, the federal government has regulations for the handling and disposal of some of the chemicals in some of these products at particular thresholds, supplemented with best management practices developed with stakeholders. Your best course of action is to consult with the US EPA directly with your query, and to consult with the particular state government you want to work with to ensure compliance with their laws.

I am a for-profit business, how can I be listed on this website?

Please read our disclaimer first. To avoid the appearance of federal endorsement, we would have to include everyone or no one on this website. Instead, work with the national groups and industry representatives already linked to the national eCycling website to direct traffic your way. Exceptions may be made for businesses in states without this information distribution infrastructure and are a priority for increased recycling in Region 9.

I am a non-profit organization, how can I be listed on this website?

Please read our disclaimer first. As with a for-profit business, we would prefer to direct traffic through a national group, state government site, or searchable database. Exceptions may be made for organizations in states without this information distribution infrastructure and are a priority for increased recycling in Region 9.

I want to start collecting/reusing/reselling/recycling cell phones, what should I know?

The US EPA's Plug-in to eCycling program is working to improve cell phone recycling in the nation. Please consult the program's website and your state and local governments for best practices, opportunities, and regulatory requirements.

I would like to reuse or recycle federal computers, how do I go about doing that?

Currently the federal government follows the "excess" regulations of the General Services Administration, and there are few alternatives to accessing federal property. Broadly speaking, federal IT assets go through a hierarchy of need, flowing from internal office need, to internal agency/department need, to internal federal need, to schools, and then finally to auction. If you are a school, you can apply through GSA's Computers for Learning Exiting EPA (disclaimer) program.

I am in the market for a new computer, where can I find the most environmentally-friendly computer that I can afford?

The Green Electronics Council hosts a searchable database Exiting EPA (disclaimer) of desktops, notebooks, and monitors now sold that achieve one of three levels of environmental criteria.

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