Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Electronic Hazardous Waste (E-Waste)


Due to ongoing technological advancement, many of electronic products become obsolete within a very short period of time, creating a large surplus of unwanted electronic products, or “e-waste.” Disposing of e-waste in landfills has the potential to cause severe human and environmental health impacts. To avoid these risks, the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (Senate Bill 50) was signed into law in 2004. SB 50 established and funded a program for consumers to return, recycle, and ensure safe and environmentally sound disposal of covered electronic devices (CEDs).

DTSC has also adopted regulations (Chapter 23 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations) designating e-wastes as universal wastes. Because they pose lower immediate risk to people and the environment when properly managed, universal wastes can be handled and transported under more relaxed rules compared to hazardous wastes. However, e-wastes contain hazardous materials and must be taken to a designated handler or recycler. Find an e-waste handler or recycler in your county, or visit the CalRecycle’s Directory of the companies that collect, reuse and recycle electronic wastes.

Notify DTSC of E-waste Handling and Recycling Activities

If you already handle or plan to handle e-waste, you can use our online notification system to file a Notice of Intent to handle or recycle, Annual Report, or Export Notification. Annual Reports are due Feb. 1 of each year for all facilities, including collection events. See our Annual Reporting FAQ for common annual reporting questions. For assistance, see our guides on how to use our online system: creating a new account, adding an additional facility, adding an annual report, editing an annual report.

What is E-waste?

“E-waste” refers to any unwanted electronic device or Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and is classified as universal waste. E-waste frequently contains hazardous materials, predominantly lead and mercury, and is produced by households, businesses, governments, and industries.

Information for E-waste Handlers and Recyclers

There are various reporting requirements to consider before becoming an e-waste handler. DTSC has prepared several guidance documents and newsletters on complying with our regulations. Under California law, generators are responsible for determining whether their e-waste is hazardous waste (Cal. Code Regs, title 22, Section 66262.11).

E-waste Legislation and Regulation

DTSC regulates and enforces this Electronic Waste Recycling Act, and the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) manages the payment system.

DTSC Outreach Materials and FAQs

  • Informational letter: CUPA vs. DTSC Inspection Authority
  • This presentation from the 2009 CUPA conference provides a summary of electronic wastes, the kinds of activities that recyclers perform, classification of treatment residuals, and a projected summary of the new universal waste regulations.
  • This presentation is aimed at personnel responsible for managing surplus property at State agencies, and provide an overview of determining “e-waste” and management and notification requirements.
  • Printable poster on universal waste management.

Links for Additional E-waste Information

DTSC has compiled this list of links to external Web pages that contain information that may be of interest. DTSC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Managing Discarded Cell Phones

Unwanted cell phones are regulated as universal waste electronic devices in California. Under the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004, retailers who sell cellular telephones are required to take them back from consumers. DTSC has prepared a fact sheet that explains the provisions of this law. For information on how California is doing recycling cell phones, DTSC publishes an estimated recycling rate each year. 

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