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State efforts to regulate the disposal of electronic waste have greatly intensified this year, with Connecticut, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas adopting some sort of e-waste management legislation. An additional eight states - Arkansas, California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington - established similar requirements in previous years and many more are expected to follow suit in the medium term, making it increasingly burdensome for manufacturers to comply with a myriad of rules. The proliferation of various e-waste requirements at the state level showcases the importance of implementing national e-waste management standards, either through federal legislation or by promoting a national consensus between industry, consumer and environmental groups, regulators and other interested stakeholders. Individual companies could also assume a leadership role in this area by establishing recycling plans on their own initiative.
The main features of the e-waste legislation approved so far this year are summarised below.
Minnesota The Minnesota legislation prohibited the sale of new video display devices to retailers in the state on or after 1 September 2007 unless the VDD carries a permanently affixed and readily visible label with the manufacturer's brand and the manufacturer has filed an annual registration with the state. Beginning 1 September 2008, VDD manufacturers must submit a statement every year disclosing whether any VDDs sold to households in the state exceed the maximum concentration values established under the EU Directive 2002/95/EC. VDDs are defined in the Minnesota legislation as televisions or computer monitors, including laptop computers, that contain a cathode ray tube or a flat panel screen with a screen size greater than nine inches measured diagonally and are marketed by manufacturers for use by households.
Connecticut Connecticut will ban the sale of CEDs to retailers in the state on or after 1 January 2008 unless the CED carries a permanently affixed and readily visible label with the manufacturer's brand and the manufacturer has filed an annual registration with the state. By 1 January 2009, manufacturers will be required to participate in a state-wide programme to implement and finance the collection, transportation and recycling of CEDs, but they may at the same time participate in a private electronics recycling programme. CEDs are defined as desktop or personal computers, computer monitors, portable computers, CRT-based televisions and non-CRT-based televisions or any other similar or peripheral electronic device sold to consumers.
North Carolina North Carolina will ban the sale of computer equipment to retailers in the state on or after 1 January 2009 unless the CED carries a permanently affixed and readily visible label with the manufacturer's brand. Computer equipment is defined as a desktop central processing unit, laptop computer, the monitor or video display unit for a computer system, and keyboards, mice and other peripheral equipment. Excluded from this definition are printing devices, televisions, household appliances, automobiles and large commercial or industrial equipment.
Oregon By 1 January 2009, manufacturers that sell desktop or laptop computers, televisions and computer monitors with screens larger than four inches will be required to finance "free, convenient, environmentally sound" recycling services. Manufacturers must also register with the state and pay an annual registration fee ranging from US$20 to US$15,000, depending on their market share in Oregon. In addition, a covered device may not be sold in Oregon unless it is properly labelled with the manufacturer's brand and that manufacturer is registered with state authorities. Manufacturers can create their own take-back programme or participate in a common programme, but they must pay for collection, transportation and recycling costs.
Texas Texas' e-waste management programme is limited to new desktop or laptop computers, including computer monitors or other display devices that do no contain a tuner. Covered devices cannot be sold in the state unless they carry a permanently affixed and readily visible label with the manufacturer's brand and the manufacturer has a registered recovery programme. Manufacturers are required to adopt and implement a recovery plan that allows consumers to recycle covered devices without paying a separate fee at the time of recycling. These requirements will enter into force 1 September 2008.
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