- Why recycle
- Recycling options
- Maine's product stewardship program for recycling e-waste
- Other related links
Electronics, such as televisions, computers, and computer monitors, contain toxic substances, including lead, mercury, cadmium, lithium, brominated flame retardants, phosphorous coatings, and PVC plastics. When thrown away these devices can release their toxics, posing a threat to human health and the environment. Because of the threat posed by these toxics, it is illegal to throw away cathode ray tubes and LCD screens in Maine. Electronics also contain high quality plastics, copper, aluminum, and small amounts of silver, gold, and other precious metals. Mining and processing these the materials is energy intensive and environmentally detrimental. By recycling your old devices, you can prevent the release of toxic substances and ensure valuable materials are recovered.
From January 2006 through December 2017, Maine residents recycled more than 97 million pounds of electronics with the help of electronics manufacturers!
Households, K-12 schools, small NGOs and businesses: Maine households, elementary and secondary schools, businesses with 100 or fewer employees, and 501(c)3 nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees can recycle much of their e-waste at little to no cost through Maine's product stewardship program – scroll down for more information.
Other entities: Other entities cannot recycle electronic waste through the program, but their e-waste can – and sometimes must – still be recycled. Some electronic wastes are regulated as hazardous waste when generated by businesses, including electronics that contain cathode ray tubes, mercury lamps, and circuit boards.
Electronics leaving large businesses often have value in the reuse market, in which case businesses can direct their material to a company performing asset management – check with your electronics recycler to find out if they offer this service. Universal Waste Management Companies (PDF) can also ensure electronics from large businesses are handled and recycled in accordance with all regulatory requirements. For more information on the handling of electronics by Universal Waste Management Companies, contact the Hazardous Waste staff at (207)287-7688.
Under Maine’s product stewardship program for e-waste, manufacturers pay for the recycling of televisions, portable DVD players, game consoles, computer monitors, laptops, tablets, e-readers, 3D printers, desktop and portable printers, digital picture frames, and other visual display devices with screens of at least 4 inches measured diagonally and one or more circuit boards. Cell phones are not included in this program but may be recycled at the retail locations of cell service providers. Electronic accessories are not covered by the program but are often accepted at sites that accept the covered devices listed above.
Municipalities ensure that their residents have a collection site or event that will take these "covered electronic devices" for recycling. Some collection sites charge a small fee to help cover their costs of operation. Households, elementary and secondary schools, and small businesses and non-profits are responsible for bringing their e-waste to a collection site or event.
Electronics collected through this system are consolidated and sent for recycling by companies approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (PDF). Processing meets strict environmental standards and results in the reclamation of all useable materials.
Recycling locations - some collection sites charge a small fee to cover their costs of collection.
- Many transfer stations collect electronics; some may charge a fee. Check with your transfer station. List of active transfer stations (PDF)
- The “Help ME Recycle” map can help you find collection locations near you.
- Goodwill recycling program for computer equipment – Goodwill offers a free residential computer recycling program. You can drop off any brand of used computer equipment at participating Goodwill donation centers in your area. (off-site)
- give IT. get IT. (previously PCs for MAINE and eWaste Alternatives) is a nonprofit that reuses computers to help people achieve their employment and educational goals. give IT. get IT. can accept all kinds of working or waste electronics from businesses or households. (off-site)
- For help finding collection options near you please contact Elena Bertocci at 287-8556 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- 38 M.R.S. §1306.4 - CRT Disposal Prohibition
- 38 M.R.S. §1663 - Mercury-added products disposal ban
- 38 M.R.S. §1610 - Electronic Waste -This version of Maine’s law includes the changes made by Maine’s 2011 and 2018 Legislatures.
- 38 M.R.S. §1301-1310-B - Waste Management General Provisions
- 38 M.R.S. § 2143 - Cell Phone Recycling
- Chapter 415 -- Reasonable Costs for the Handling and Recycling of Electronic Wastes
- Chapter 858 -- Universal Waste
For more information on recycling and disposal of electronic waste from households and schools, contact the E-Waste Program staff at (207) 287-7688.