The state of New Jersey is starting the New Year off by enacting a ban to keep electronic waste (e-waste) out of landfills.
As of January 1, 2011, the Electronic Waste Management Act requires all New Jersey residents to recycle used electronics.
With the law, the state also takes important steps to shift responsibility for the cost of recycling electronics from consumer to producer. For manufacturers this means registering, paying a $5,000 fee to fund state regulators, and submitting a plan for how their products will be responsibly recovered at the end of their life cycle. Failure to comply with the new laws may result in the company losing its license to sell electronics.
Also important is the laws insistence that dead electronics not be exported to developing nations as has been done in the past. (Learn more about this here.)
Prior to the law, residents of the Garden State were recycling 10-12 million pounds of e-waste per year. That number is expected to reach 50 million pounds this year. Such significant diversion from landfills will also help to limit the health risks and environmental damage caused when the harmful chemicals found in electronics—lead, mercury, cadmium—make their way into land and water.
Residents of New Jersey will be able to recycle goods for free at collection centers and participating retailers like Best Buy, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. In some municipalities, curbside pickups of e-waste may also be available. Not included in the law are cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, and video game consoles.
For a full list of what must be recycled and where it can be dropped off or picked up visit New Jersey’s recycling site.