Ohio does not have regulations governing the disposal or recycling of consumer electronic waste.  State legislation has been adopted by at least nineteen other states to encourage the recycling of e-waste and divert computers and other electronic equipment from landfills. 

Why manage e-waste differently? E-waste components can contain hazardous or toxic compounds that make it different than other household municipal waste. 

Recently, Representative Dennis Murray introduced legislation (H.B. 447) designed to encourage the recycling of e-waste in the state.  Sponsor testimony will be heard this Wednesday. 

The bill is directed at manufacturers who produce and sell computers, printers and video equipment.   Some of the key elements of the proposed legislation include:

  • Registration–  Requires all manufacturers of electronics to register with Ohio EPA.
  • Fee–  Manufactures must pay an annual registration fee of $5,000 to pay for administration of the program
  • Take-Back Programs–  By April 2011 mandate computer and video display consumer take back programs.  Allow consumers to mail or drops of equipment at stores for recycling by the manufacturer
  • Prohibit sales– Without registration or a take back program
  • Reporting-  Manufacturers must report to the State on the success of their take-back programs

The Electronics Take-Back Coalition maintains a good website that provides information regarding state and federal efforts to mandate recycling of electronic waste.  The web site provides a great resource to compare and contrast state legislation that has been adopted in other states with the Ohio proposal.

Recycling Rates E-Waste
Product Units Disposed Trashed Recycled Recycle Rate
T.Vs 26.9  million 20.6 6.3 18%
Computers 205.5 million 157.3 48.2 18%
Cell Phones 140.3 million 126.3 14 10%

The chart above from the Coalition web page provides some interesting information regarding recycling rates.  Certainly, more can be done in Ohio to manage e-waste issues.

The Legislation may cast too broad of a net (covering too many products) or places too onerous requirements on manufacturer take-back programs.  However, there is good information available to compare Ohio to the other nineteen (19) states operating programs.  Ohio stands to learn from what has worked and what hasn’t worked in these other states.