Electronic Equipment Facts
- As of August, 2013, electronic equipment is exempt from universal and hazardous waste regulations. However, electronics contain valuable recyclable commodities as well as hazardous materials that need to be managed properly.
- Electronic equipment contains a variety of hazardous substances that require special disposal. For example:
- Cathode ray tubes and the glass found in computer monitors and television screens contain large amounts of lead
- Circuit boards and electronic wiring contain lead, chrome and other metals
- Relays and switches can contain mercury
- PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can be present in older, larger equipment, and can cause endocrine disruption and neorotoxicity
- Some materials can be recycled as commodities, such as lead (Pb), silver (Ag), barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg)
- Most, if not all, of the components that go into manufacturing electronics do not decompose in landfills, nor will they be destroyed if combusted in a waste-to-energy facility--instead they will be distributed into the environment if not disposed of properly
- Important materials and resources can be reclaimed from obsolete equipment if the equipment is properly recycled--either refurbished for reuse or destroyed responsibly.