Electronics Recycling

Computer monitors

Using electronic products is as much a part of our daily activities as driving a car or using a microwave oven. But, unlike cars or ovens, these products become out of date at an astounding rate. The problem is that electronic wastes (e-waste), such as televisions, computers and computer monitors, contain toxic substances, including lead, mercury, cadmium, lithium, brominated flame retardants, phosphorous coatings, and PVC plastics that create dioxins when burned. Although these devices are safe to use, when thrown away they can release these toxics, posing a threat to human health and the environment. The best solution is to be sure e-waste is recycled.

Some electronic wastes are regulated as hazardous waste when generated by businesses, including electronics that contain cathode ray tubes, mercury lamps, and circuit boards. Universal Waste Management Companies can ensure your electronics are handled and recycled in accordance with all regulatory requirements. Maine residents, elementary and secondary schools, and businesses with 100 fewer employees can recycle some of their e-waste at no cost through Maine's product stewardship program. Check the “Help ME Recycle” quick link to find collection locations near you.

From January 2006 through December 2012, Maine residents recycled more than 46 million pounds of electronics with the help of electronics manufacturers!

Contacts

For more information on recycling and disposal of electronic waste from businesses, contact the Hazardous Waste staff at (207) 287-7688.

For more information on recycling and disposal of electronic waste from households and schools, contact the E-Waste Program staff at (207) 287-7688.

Questions regarding Maine's e-waste law, please contact Carole Cifrino (207) 485-8160.

Product stewardship program for recycling e-waste

Under Maine’s product stewardship program for e-waste manufacturers pay for the recycling of televisions, portable DVD players, game consoles, computer monitors, portable computers, desktop printers and digital picture frames. Households, elementary and secondary schools, and small businesses and non-profits are responsible for bringing their e-waste to a collection site or event. Municipalities must ensure that their residents have a collection site or event that will take these “covered electronic devices” for recycling. Some collection sites charge a small fee to cover their costs of collection. All electronics collected in this system are recycled to reclaim all useable materials, with the processing meeting strict environmental standards.

Municipal collection sites for electronics and mercury-added products (PDF format) (Also available in MS Excel format) - This is a listing by town of municipal collection sites that accept Universal Waste. The blue blocks signify that they will take from anyone in the state not just for the residents in their town. Green means we were not able to reach anyone in that municipal office, and therefore do not have any information for that town.

“DO NOT SELL” Instructions for Retailers of Electronics

A retailer may not sell televisions, portable DVD players, game consoles, computer monitors, portable notebook computers, tablet computers, e-readers, or digital picture frames (collectively referred to as “covered electronic devices”) in or into Maine unless the manufacturer is in compliance with Maine’s Electronic Waste (E-waste) law (38 M.R.S.A. §1610) and the product brand is registered with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Prior to purchasing any covered electronic devices from a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor, retailers should take the following steps to ascertain that the product may be legally sold in Maine.

Step 1. Is the manufacturer in compliance with Maine’s E-waste law? Here is a list of manufacturers that are out of compliance with Maine’s E-Waste Law, and the brand names under which they have marketed “covered electronic devices”. These manufacturers have been notified that they are IN VIOLATION of Maine’s E-waste law, and that covered electronic devices from these manufacturers cannot be legally sold in or into Maine.

Step 2. Is the brand registered?  Before purchasing any covered electronic devices, check the listing of registered brands. Retailers cannot legally sell in Maine a covered electronic device of a brand that is not registered by its manufacturer with the Maine DEP. If a manufacturer wants a retailer to purchase their covered electronic devices to sell in or into Maine, then the manufacturer must register their products and brands with Maine DEP.

Laws

Rules

  • Chapter 850 - Identification of Hazardous Wastes
  • Chapter 415 - Reasonable Costs for the Handling and Recycling of Electronic Wastes

Forms

Additional Information

Manufacturers and Consolidators

Universal Waste Handbook (2.24MB) (pdf format) - Universal Waste Information/Training Sign up form - Request Handbook or other information and register to be on the mailing list for future training events.

Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic Waste

Maine's Cell Phone Recycling Law

Other Related Links

EPA Electronics: A New Opportunity for Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling (off-Site)

Goodwill recycling program for computer equipment – Goodwill offers a free residential computer recycling program. You can drop off any brand of used computer equipment at participating Goodwill donation centers in your area. (off-Site)