Regulations, Initiatives and Research on Electronics Stewardship
On this page:
- Rules for Managing Cathode Ray Tubes
- State Electronics Laws
- EPA Electronics Forum
- International Efforts in Electronics Stewardship
- Research Efforts in Electronics Stewardship
A cathode ray tube (CRT) is the glass video display component of an electronic device, usually a computer or television monitor. CRT funnel glass generally contains high enough concentrations of lead that the glass is regulated as hazardous waste when disposed. CRTs and CRT glass were once easily recycled into new CRTs, however, the demand for new CRTs has collapsed in favor of new flat panel technologies. Because of rising costs, negative economic incentives and shifts in CRT glass markets, some CRT processors and recyclers are choosing to store the glass indefinitely rather than send it for recycling or disposal, which increases the risk of mismanagement and/or abandonment of CRTs.
In 2006, EPA amended its regulations to streamline management requirements for recycling of used CRTs and glass removed from CRTs. The amendments excluded these materials from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act definition of solid waste, if certain conditions are met (see title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations in Section 261.4(a)(22)). On June 18, 2014, EPA finalized revisions to the export provisions of the 2006 CRT final rule. These changes 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.
Find out more about EPA's CRT regulations, including information on the 2014 final rule.
Twenty-five U.S. states currently have electronics recycling laws. The National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) developed an interactive map Exit that helps to find out detailed information on state regulations, including a brief summary and link to the laws as well as key dates. Visit NCERs website to find out more about state electronics laws Exit.
On September 23 and 24, 2014, EPA hosted a forum to harness the collective power of the electronics community and identify shared priorities that will advance domestic end-of-life electronics management. More than 40 participants took part in the interactive discussion to identify strengths and issues, and brainstorm areas of focus to address the challenges of CRT stockpiling and end-of-life electronics management.
Participants of the forum represented a cross-section of the electronics community, including the following:
- Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
- Trade Associations
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Standards Certification Bodies
Read EPA's summary report about the Electronics Forum.
The EPA Office of International and Tribal Affairs’ Office of Global Affairs and Policy (OGAP) provides policy and programmatic expertise for multinational environmental and human health issues. OGAP identifies broad emerging international environmental issues and, in concert with internal and external partners, develops initiatives to address these issues. This includes OGAPs initiative to clean up electronic waste.
You can learn more about EPA's international electronic waste management efforts by visiting the Agency’s Cleaning Up Electronic Waste (E-Waste) site.
The following reports provide information about research related to sustainable electronics management:
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) Research on Worker Exposure in Recycling Facilities (PDF) (54 pp, 1.43 Mb, About PDF)
- CDC Worker Exposure Electronics Recycling Facility Pilot survey (PDF) (26 pp, 2.0 Mb, About PDF)
- Automated Identification and Sorting of Rare Earth Elements in an E-Waste Recycling System
- Cost-effective Rare Earth Element Recycling Process from Industrial Scrap and Discarded Electronic Products to Valuable Magnetic Alloys and Permanent Magnets
- Used Electronic Products: An Examination of U.S. Exports
- Cleaning up Electronic Waste (E-Waste)