Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of E-Waste

Pursuant to 38 MRSA §1610.5(C), the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has developed the following guidelines for recycling and dismantling facilities engaged in the handling, processing, refurbishment and recycling of electronic wastes generated by Maine households. These guidelines provide a framework for environmentally sound management of these wastes. Consolidators approved to participate in Maine’s producer responsibility program for e-waste may not transport covered electronic wastes to a recycling or dismantling facility unless the facility has provided a sworn certification to the consolidator that the facility substantially meets these guidelines. In lieu of such sworn certification, a recycler may provide documentation that it is currently certified as meeting the Base Action Network’s eStewards standards.

MEDEP reserves the right to revise these guidelines in response to developments within the electronics manufacturing and recycling industries and federal and state programs that impact these industries, and will provide notice to recyclers and dismantlers with adequate time to allow for implementation of any changes necessary to meet the revised guidelines.

  1. The facility must comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations, including federal and state minimum wage laws, specifically relevant to handling, processing, refurbishment and recycling of e-waste, and proper authorization by all appropriate governing authorities to perform such handling, processing, refurbishment and recycling.

  2. The facility must implement appropriate measures to safeguard occupational and environmental health and safety, through the following:

    1. Environmental health & safety (EH&S) training of personnel, including training with regard to material and equipment handling, worker exposure, controlling releases and safety and emergency procedures.

    2. An up-to-date, written hazardous materials identification and management plan.

    3. An up-to-date, written plan for reporting and responding to exceptional pollutant releases, including emergencies such as accidents, spills, fires, and explosions.

    4. Maintenance of Commercial General Liability Insurance or equivalent corporate guarantee for accidents and other emergencies with limits of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate. Additionally, maintenance of Pollution Legal Liability Insurance with a limit of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence for companies engaged solely in dismantling activities and $5,000,000 per occurrence for companies engaged in processing of recyclable materials.

    5. Documentation that completion of an EH&S audit is completed and certified by a competent internal or external auditor on a periodic basis (generally annually). A competent auditor is an individual who through professional training and/or work experience is appropriately qualified to evaluate the environmental health and safety conditions, practices, and procedures of the facility. Documentation of the auditor’s qualifications must be available for inspection by government officials and third party auditors.

    6. The facility must maintain on file proof of procurement of workers compensation/employers’ liability insurance.

  3. The facility must provide adequate assurance (e.g. bonds, corporate guarantee) to cover environmental and other costs of the closure of our facility, including the cleanup of stockpiled equipment and materials.

  4. The facility must apply due diligence principles to selection of facilities to which components and materials (e.g., plastics, metals, circuit boards, CRTs) from e-waste are sent for reuse and recycling.

  5. The facility must establish a documented environmental management system (EMS), appropriate in level of detail and documentation to the scale and function of the facility, including documented regular self-audits and/or inspections of its environmental compliance.

  6. The facility must use appropriate equipment for proper processing of incoming materials as well as controlling environmental releases. The facility must manage all materials to minimize adverse exposures to workers and releases to the environment. Dismantling operations and storage of e-waste components that contain hazardous substances must be conducted indoors and over impervious floors. Storage areas must be adequate to hold all processed and unprocessed inventory. When heat is used to soften solder and when e-waste, or components thereof, are shred, operations must be designed to control indoor and outdoor hazardous air emissions.

  7. The facility must establish a system for identifying and properly managing components that if waste may be hazardous (e.g., circuit boards, batteries, CRTs, mercury phosphor lamps, etc.) that are removed from e-waste during disassembly. The facility must properly manage all hazardous and other components requiring special handling from e-waste consistent with relevant federal, state, and local regulations. The facility agrees to provide visible tracking (such as hazardous waste manifests or Bills of Lading) of hazardous components and materials from the facility to the destination facilities and documentation (such as contracts) stating how the destination facility processes materials received. The facility must not send, either directly or through intermediaries, hazardous wastes to solid waste (non-hazardous waste) landfills or to non-hazardous waste incinerators for disposal or energy recovery. For the purposes of these guidelines, smelting of hazardous wastes to recover metals for reuse in conformance with all applicable laws and regulations is not considered disposal or energy recovery.

  8. The facility must use a regularly implemented and documented monitoring and record keeping program that tracks inbound material weights (total) and outbound material weights (total to each destination), injury and illness rates, and compliance with applicable permit parameters including monitoring of effluents and emissions. The facility must maintain contracts or other documents, such as sales receipts, suitable to demonstrate: (a) a reasonable expectation that there is a downstream market or uses for designated electronics (such uses may include recycling and/or reclamation processes such as smelting to recover metals for reuse); and (b) that any residual from recycling and/or reclamation processes are properly handled and managed to maximize reuse and recycling of materials to the extent practicable.

    On an annual basis, the facility must provide a statement to consolidators that ship e-waste as part of the producer responsibility program to the facility with a description of how e-waste is recycled, including the following data as a percent of the total number or weight of units received by the facility:

    • Percent each of e-waste that are sent for reuse;
    • Percent of components recovered for reuse;
    • Percent of materials recycled;
    • Residual rates by material; and
    • Fate of materials not recycled

    The facility may calculate these numbers based on the proportion of these waste categories received from Maine and the total electronic waste stream handled by the facility. The facility must maintain on file these statements to consolidators for a minimum of 3 years for inspection by government officials and relevant auditors.

  9. The facility must comply with federal and international law and agreements regarding the export of used products or materials. In the case of export of e-waste, compliance with applicable requirements of the U.S. and of the import and transit countries, and maintenance of proper business records documenting such compliance. The facility agrees not to establish or utilize intermediaries for the purpose of circumventing these U.S., import, and transit country requirements.

    The facility must conduct transactions that involve the transboundary shipment of used e-waste based on contracts (or equivalent commercial arrangements) made in advance that detail the quantity and nature of the materials to be shipped. For the export of materials to a foreign country (directly or indirectly through downstream market contractors):

    • Shipment of intact e-waste destined for reuse include only whole products, tested and certified as being in working order or requiring only minor repair (e.g., not requiring replacement of circuit boards or CRTs), that are destined for reuse with respect to their original purpose, where the recipient has verified a market for the sale or donation of such products for reuse;
    • Shipments of e-waste for materials recovery are prepared in a manner appropriate for processing, including smelting where metals will be recovered, plastics recovery, and glass-to-glass recycling; and/or
    • Export to companies or facilities owned or controlled by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

    Also, the facility must maintain the following export records on file for a minimum of three years:

      a. Destination (including facility name and address) to which shipment is exported.

      b. Shipment contents and volumes.

      c. Intended use of contents by the destination facility.

      d. Specifications required by the destination facility in relation to shipment contents.

      e. Assurance that all shipments for export, as applicable to the ______(name of company)_________, are legal and satisfy all applicable laws in the destination country.

Recycling and Dismantling Facility Certification Form (pdf format)