California considers changes to state-run electronics recycling

On Oct. 11, 2017, CalRecycle held a morning hearing followed by an afternoon workshop to consider public comment on proposed rulemaking to update and amend the nation's oldest electronics recycling program and its 2003 law. The current California program is state government-run, collecting an "advanced recycling fee" on electronics at the point of purchase and administering the operation of the recycling program. One CalRecycle proposal would amend California's law to become a producer responsibility law, whereby the electronics manufacturers are required to create, fund, and operate the recyling program. Another proposal would expand the existing government-run program to cover more electronic products, possibly including printers, appliances, and solar panels.

California is unique; according to Resource Recycling's coverage of the workshop, many businesses prefer the government-run program to an industry product stewardship program. In contrast, 23 other states have producer responsibility laws for electronics manufacturers. Neither the E-Cycle Washington nor Oregon E-Cycles electronics stewardship programs (in operation since 2009) require a visible fee on consumers – rather, the manufacturers internalize the cost of recycling as part of doing business.

This was the fourth Future of Electronic Waste Management in California workshop held since 2016.