|EPA published a list of companies approved to export CRTs for recycling. Companies listed have been approved to export whole CRTs, broken CRTs, or unprocessed CRT glass for recycling under EPA’s CRT rule (view list).
The term "e-waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business
electronic equipment that is at the end of its useful life. Used products
that are commonly thought of as e-waste include computers and computer-related
equipment (including keyboard, monitors, printers, etc), cell phones, televisions
and radios. However, there is no clear definition for e-waste; for instance
whether or not items like microwave ovens and other similar "appliances" should
be grouped into the category has not been established.
Under the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA), e-waste is not an official category of waste like hazardous waste or universal
waste. However, that does not mean that e-waste is unregulated;
in fact, much of it is regulated since certain components of many electronic
products contain materials (e.g., lead, cadmium) that render them hazardous
under RCRA, depending on their condition and density.
One of the most voluminous e-wastes is cathode ray tubes (CRTs). EPA has
provided conditional exclusions from the federal hazardous waste management
standards for CRTs and CRT glass destined for recycling. These simplified
standards aim to increase the collection and recycling of CRTs, and to reduce
the amount of lead in landfills by allowing the lead to be reused to make
new CRT glass or sent to lead smelters.
Under these regulations, used, unbroken CRTs are not regulated as hazardous
waste unless they are stored for more than a year.
Used, broken CRTs are not regulated as hazardous waste as long as the following
conditions are met:
- CRT containers are clearly labeled regarding contents;
- CRTs are safely transported in containers designed to minimize releases;
- CRTs are stored in a building or container designed to minimize releases;
- CRTs are stored on site less than one year before recycling them.
To remain unregulated, CRTs undergoing glass processing must follow the
same requirements, except they must be processed inside a building, at temperatures
not high enough to volatilize lead from the glass. CRT glass that has been
processed and sent to a CRT glass manufacturer or a lead smelter also is
unregulated unless it is stored for more than one year or used in a manner
constituting disposal (applied to the land). CRT glass going to any other
kind of recycler may be eligible for exemption under existing regulations.
Imports and Exports of E-Waste
General. With the exception of CRTs (see below), when e-wastes fall
into either hazardous or universal waste categories, the same applicable
federal rules for imports and exports apply (see either hazardous waste or universal
waste and hazardous waste destined for recycling).
CRTs. On June 18, 2014, EPA finalized revisions to the export provisions of the 2006 CRT final rule. The revisions (see fact sheet) are effective on December 26, 2014.
These changes will allow the Agency to obtain additional information to better track exports of CRTs for reuse and recycling in order to ensure safe management of these materials. Specifically, the rule:
- Adds a definition of "CRT exporter" to eliminate potential confusion over who is responsible for fulfilling CRT exporter duties, including submitting the export notices.
- Requires information on all interim and final destinations for CRTs exported for recycling to provide more complete information to receiving countries.
- Requires annual reports from exporters of used CRTs sent for recycling to provide EPA more accurate information on the total quantity of CRTs exported for recycling during a calendar year.
- Replaces the one-time notice for used CRTs exported for reuse with an expanded, periodic notice to improve tracking, and thus better management, of these CRTs.
- Requires that normal business records maintained by exporters of used CRTs for reuse be translated into English upon request.
States have taken a variety of approaches toward e-waste and especially
CRT management. Some states, such as Massachusetts and Florida, have taken
steps to streamline hazardous waste regulations for CRTs, resulting in higher
levels of recycling. On the other hand, California considers CRTs to be spent
materials and regulates all CRT as hazardous waste, i.e. they are banned
from landfills. Many states are currently developing Universal Waste exemptions
for CRTs. Minnesota, in particular, considers CRTs to be electric lamps,
which are already part of that state's Universal Waste Rule. New York utilizes
its scrap metal exemption for whole intact CRTs that will be recycled. For
more information on state rules, see the state locators for hazardous waste
and universal waste.
For more information, see E-Waste Resource Locator.
webpage the provides basic information about reducing electronics waste,
frequent questions and answers about electronic waste, regulations/standards
for handling electronic equipment, publications that offer valuable information
about electronic waste, related links that include resources for recycling,
and donation programs market trends in electronic waste generation and recovery.
Waste CRT Rule Federal Register Notice (July 28, 2006). The amendments
exclude these materials from the RCRA definition of solid waste if certain
conditions are met.
Waste CRT Rule Fact Sheet: Easier Recycling of Cathode Ray Tubes. Contains
background information and a summary of the rule.
Hazardous Waste CRT Rule Revisions Federal Register Notice (June 26, 2014). The revisions require better tracking of CRT exports.
Hazardous Waste CRT Rule Revisions Fact Sheet: Contains background information and a summary of the rule.