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List of State Officials - Martin O'Malley, Governor; Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor; Shari T. Wilson, MDE Secretary 

Volume III, Number 9

 March 2009

eMDE is a bi-monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. 

eCycle Your Old Electronics

By Kim Lamphier, Office of Communications

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Products wrapped and ready for ecycling. 

Back to this issue's cover page 

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, Americans own approximately 24 electronic products per household. Our use of electronic products has grown substantially over the past two decades, changing the way and the speed in which we communicate—and how we get our information and entertainment. The conversion from analog to digital television is one example where consumers can take steps to protect public health by recycling old electronics.

Across the country, state and local governments, manufacturers, and retailers are providing more opportunities to recycle and reuse this equipment. Some television manufacturers, computer manufacturers, and electronics retailers offer take back programs or sponsor recycling events.

Manufacturers and sellers of electronic equipment who wish to sell their products in Maryland must register with the State, pay an initial registration fee of $10,000 and an annual fee of $5,000 if the company does not have a takeback program or $500 if the company does have a takeback program. These requirements apply to computers, televisions and other electronics. The revenue is used for grants to counties and municipalities for electronics recycling activities and for Statewide eCycling programs.

Reusing and Donating Electronics

Preventing waste in the first place is preferable to any waste management option...including recycling. Donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste stream for a longer period of time. Reuse, in addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, also benefits society. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, nonprofit organizations, and lower-income families to obtain equipment they otherwise could not afford.

Click here for more information on donating electronics. 

Click here for information from EPA.

Recycling Electronics

Most Maryland counties offer computer and electronics collections to reduce waste ending up in landfills and incinerators. These programs include permanent collection facilities, special collection events, and take-back programs developed by retailers and manufacturers. Most of these programs are offered free of charge or for a small fee.

Click here for more information on recycling electronics.

Buying Green

Environmentally responsible use of electronics is not just about disposing obsolete equipment properly but also purchasing new equipment designed with environmentally preferable attributes. Think about this when purchasing new equipment, and ask your retailer or electronics supplier about environmentally preferable electronics.

Click here for information about the purchase of these products and usage of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

Households, companies, and governmental organizations can encourage electronics manufacturers to design greener electronics by purchasing computers and other electronics with environmentally preferable attributes and by requesting takeback options at the time of purchase. Look for electronics that:

  • Contain fewer toxic constituents such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic;
  • Use recycled materials in the new product;
  • Are energy efficient (e.g., showing the Energy Star label);
  • Are designed for easy upgrading or disassembly;
  • Use minimal packaging;
  • Offer leasing or takeback options; or
  • Meet performance criteria showing they are environmentally preferable.

Click here to find an eCycling center in your area or for more information.

Click here for information from EPA’s website.


©2009 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230