Frequently Asked Questions for Residents
Are residents required to recycle old, unwanted electronics?
Yes. South Carolina passed legislation in May 2010 that requires residents to recycle desktop, laptop, notebook and table computers as well as computer monitors, printers and televisions. The legislation specifically says that residents “may not knowingly place or discard” a computer, computer monitor, printer or television “in any waste stream that is to be disposed of in a solid waste landfill.” This ban takes effect July 1, 2011.
Do other states ban electronics from landfill disposal?
Yes. Many other states have established bans and legislation similar to South Carolina.
Are there other items banned from landfill disposal in South Carolina?
Yes. Lead-acid batteries (e.g., car, truck, boat batteries), motor oil, tires and large appliances (e.g., refrigerators, washers, dryers) are banned from landfill disposal and must be recycled.
Why recycle electronics?
There are many benefits to reusing or recycling electronics.
Where can electronics be recycled?
There are multiple opportunities for residents to recycle electronics. All computer and television manufacturers must have recycling programs after July 1, 2011. In addition, many retailers offer recycling programs. Many local governments also offer collection programs or single-day events throughout the year to collect electronics.
What if my electronics still work?
Many communities have non-profits and other organizations that accept working computers, cell phones and other electronics, which in turn, can help others. Donating can be an excellent option, but it is important to remember that non-working and obsolete electronics can become a burden for the organization. Always check with these organizations to make sure your unwanted electronics meet their needs.
What about other electronics?
While computers, monitors, printers and televisions are banned from disposal in landfills, many other electronics can and should be recycled. Many manufacturers, retailers, non-profits and local governments will collect electronics beyond those that are banned as part of their programs and/or single-day collection events.
How do you know that your electronics are being properly recycled?
All companies that recycle computers, computer monitors, printers and televisions from residents in South Carolina must meet the requirements of the new electronics legislation. The requirements include that the companies must meet specific standards on the collection and recycling of the electronics.
What happens to the recycled computers and televisions?
Generally, computers and televisions are separated into their original materials through different processes. Computers often are shredded using state-of-the-art processing systems. After shredding, the plastics, non-ferrous metals (aluminum), ferrous metals (steel) and circuit boards may be separated using automated sorting technology. The shredded materials then are sent to various manufacturers to be incorporated into a wide range of new products. Televisions usually are disassembled with plastic and metal being separated from the cathode ray tube (CRT). All of the materials - even the glass - are recycled into new products.
How can you reduce electronics waste?
Reuse and recycling are not the only ways to manage electronics. Consumers have other options.
How can you find 'greener' electronics?
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a system to help evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. Currently, more than 2,000 computers and monitors are listed with more being added regularly. The system will be expanded to include additional electronic products (e.g., printers and televisions) in the future.
EPEAT evaluates electronic products in relation to 51 environmental criteria – 23 required criteria and 28 optional criteria. Products are ranked according to three tiers of environmental performance – Bronze, Silver and Gold. All registered products must meet the required criteria. Manufacturers may achieve a higher EPEAT rating for products by meeting the optional criteria.
For more information about recycling in South Carolina, please call 1-800-768-7348.
This Web page was last updated on December 4, 2012.