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Few States Require Recycling of Consumer Media Equipment

Few American states have mandatory e-waste recycling laws for consumer media devices other than TVs; Colorado is the latest to do so. Pennsylvania's new law covers e-readers, but that's about it.

Disposal of satellite television dishes is the latest concern but few jurisdictions require recycling. The New York Times reports, "Many say the dishes end up in landfills, polluting the environment…The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association is challenging [local removal ordinances]." We estimate there are almost 200 million satellite TV dishes worldwide.

Music player DVD player VCR STB / DVR* Tablets & e-Reader Satellite TV dishes Gaming consoles Digital picture frames
 AR   State-owned only State-owned only        
 CA   portable       Yes
 CO   Yes Yes Yes   Yes
 IL Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes
 IN   Yes Yes      
 MA           Boston: provider to remove
 ME Yes           Yes Yes
 MD       Yes Yes     Yes
 MN   Yes           Yes
 NH   Yes   DVR     Yes
 NY Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes
 PA           Philadelphia: provider to remove
 VT Yes Yes Yes STB    
 WI   Yes Yes Yes     Yes

*STB is a 'Set-Top Box' such as DTV converter or cable/satellite receiver. DVR is a 'Digital Video Recorder'. DVRs are often embedded in STBs. Various state laws may specify limited configurations of STBs.

Broader coverage is critical as the conversion to high-definition video is obsoleting VCRs and DVD players and the fast rate of innovation shortens device life-cycles.

No laws appear to specifically cover digital still and video cameras. Maine's law covers digital picture frames.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has launched in 2011 the eCycling Leadership Initiative. The initiative is "...the first-ever industry-wide electronics recycling initiative to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016, which would be a more than threefold increase over 2010. The eCycling Leadership Initiative seeks to improve consumer awareness of the more than 5,000 collection sites currently sponsored by industry; increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly; increase the number of collection opportunities available; and provide transparent metrics on eCycling efforts. One billion pounds of electronics would fill about 89 million cubic feet, equivalent to an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium." The site's Initiative Programs page contains descriptions of and links to efforts by Apple, Best Buy, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, LGE, Nintendo, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Sony. These may prove to be the only options for residents of states without consumer electronics recycling that cover media equipment.


Sources include Electronics TakeBack Coalition, Sustainable Electronics Initiative, Campaign for Recycling, ERCCWisconsin DNR, State of Colorado.