Why You Pay an Electronic Waste Recycling Fee Understanding the Costs

E-waste regulations in California don’t have to be confusing. Learn more about how to stay compliant when disposing of e-waste in California.

Understanding E-Waste Regulations in California

Understanding E-Waste Regulations in California

The disposal of e-waste in California is a complex issue, fraught with environmental, financial, and legal implications. It’s a labyrinth of regulations that can leave businesses feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.

Yet, within this challenge lies an opportunity—an opportunity to transform the way we view e-waste, to turn a problem into a solution, and to make a positive impact on our environment and our communities.

This is the exploration of e-waste regulations in California, a story that is as much about the challenges we face as it is about the innovative solutions that can help us overcome them.

What is E-Waste?

When we talk about e-waste, the first things that come to mind are often discarded computers, obsolete cell phones, and broken electronic gadgets. But the reality is far more complex. E-waste encompasses a broad spectrum of electronic devices, from household appliances to office equipment, all of which have reached the end of their useful life.

However, there’s a crucial element often overlooked in most definitions of e-waste: potential. Every piece of electronic waste holds the potential for a second life. With the right handling, these discarded devices can be refurbished, repurposed, and reintroduced into the cycle of use, reducing the demand for new products and the environmental impact associated with their production.

The Environmental and Health Consequences of Improper E-Waste Disposal

The improper disposal of e-waste has far-reaching consequences, both for our environment and our health. Electronic devices are packed with a variety of materials, some of which are hazardous. For instance, they often contain heavy metals like mercury and lead, which can leach into the soil and water when discarded in landfills, posing a significant risk to ecosystems and human health.

Moreover, e-waste is a growing concern. The Environmental Protection Agency’s research shows that the amount of e-waste produced is growing at a rate three times faster than municipal trash. With technology constantly being updated, the lifespan of electronics is rapidly diminishing, making the need for proper e-waste management more important than ever.

But the impact of e-waste isn’t limited to the environment. There’s a human cost as well. Improper e-waste disposal can lead to serious health issues. When e-waste is improperly handled or recycled, it can release toxic substances into the air, soil, and water. These substances can cause a range of health problems, from skin and eye irritation to more serious conditions like kidney damage and neurological disorders.

Why Do I Have To Pay a Fee To Recycle Electronics?

fee to recycle electronics

If you’ve asked this question before, you’re not alone — it’s a common question in our industry.

Most IT asset disposition (ITAD) companies charge fees to businesses and individuals alike when recycling certain items. We understand that it might be frustrating to pay a fee to recycle electronics — especially if you are used to recycling other items for free or even getting paid for scrap items. It may help to understand the reasons behind the fees.

Why Electronics Recycling Is Important

fee to recycle electronics

The electronics we use everyday contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants, and more. Electronics recycling helps keep those hazardous materials out of landfills…and therefore out of our soil, air, and water.

As product innovation continues to grow, electronic waste does as well. According to Global E-Waste Monitor 2020, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019. This is why proper electronics recycling is so important.

Reuse is an important part of reducing e-waste as well. Refurbishing electronics extends the lifecycle and value of electronics, reduces waste and manufacturing costs, requires less energy than recycling, and provides job opportunities. For these reasons, we prioritize reuse before recycling at Comprenew.

Why Do I Have To Pay To Recycle My Electronics?

This is one of the most common questions we hear in our industry. And we understand that it can feel frustrating to pay extra fees to recycle your electronics, especially if you’re used to having all your other household or business recycling picked up for a single fee (or, in some areas, even getting paid for recycling certain materials!).

But the truth is, responsible electronics recycling requires different facilities, equipment, processes, and expertise than other recyclables require.

Whether you’re an individual needing to recycle your old household electronics or a business utilizing an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) program to recycle your assets, there will be fees associated with those services. Let’s go over why we charge those fees as well as why it’s so important to properly recycle your used electronics with a certified recycler.

The Growing Need for Electronics Recycling

You might be thinking, “Why should I bother to pay to recycle my electronics? Why not just toss them in the garbage?”

All the electronic devices we use in our daily lives—from TVs to computers to cell phones and more—contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, cadmium, and flame retardants. Recycling helps keep those materials out of landfills, and, in turn, out of our soil, air, and water.

According to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, in 2019 the world generated a record 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of electronic waste…up 21 percent in only five years! And they predict that global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030.

E-waste is, in fact, the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled primarily by our increased consumption of electronics, short device life cycles, and minimal repair options.

What’s more, in addition to hazardous materials, electronics contain valuable metals like gold, silver, copper, and platinum…which can be recovered and used to build new products.

Only 17.4 percent of e-waste was recycled in 2019. That means a huge amount of valuable, recoverable metals (conservatively valued at $57 billion) were thrown in landfills or burned instead of being collected for reuse.

Proper recycling of electronics is not only better for the environment, it has the potential to save literally billions of dollars a year.

Sean Teer manages Envision, a not-for-profit turning plastic bottle tops that would otherwise go to landfill into prosthetic hands and arms. Based in Werribee, the project aims to change the lives of as many disadvantaged people as possible in countries like Cambodia and India. Supported by the global Coca‑Cola Foundation, Melbourne based not-for-profit Envision is in the process of turning bottle caps into mobility aids, or artificial plastic limbs.


  • Set up and ran Progressive Personnel – First centrally based employer marketing service of its type in Australia for Disability Services
  • Author of a number of Articles and book on Job Seeking
  • National Finalist, Best Supervisor Work for the Dole Prime Minister’s Award 2005
  • Author of Self Development Book – Master the Art of Happiness
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