Guidance for Collectors, Dismantlers and Recyclers
How Used Electronic Equipment is Regulated in New York State
The NYSDEC is in the process of developing a rulemaking that will amend regulations to streamline the management of used electronic equipment. Please check the following webpage, "Proposed Used Electronic Equipment Rulemaking" periodically, as this rulemaking may change the following requirements for collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers of used electronic equipment.
The following information outlines the regulations and recommendations that apply to collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers of used electronic equipment in New York State. Separate guidance for municipalities is available.
Used Electronic Equipment Collector, Dismantler, and Recycler Definitions
Used Electronic Equipment Collectors are privately sponsored facilities (e.g. retail stores) or special collection event locations that initially receive and temporarily store used electronic equipment directly from consumers, before directing the items to an electronics dismantler or electronics recycler.
Used Electronic Equipment Dismantlers or Recyclers, on the other hand, are facilities which engage in the manual or mechanical separation of used electronic equipment to recover components and commodities contained therein for the purposes of reuse or recycling, or facilities which change the physical or chemical composition of used electronic equipment to segregate components for the purpose of recycling those components.
NYSDEC Hazardous Waste Regulations
Most used electronic equipment qualifies as hazardous waste under the NYSDEC's RCRA hazardous waste regulations (6 NYCRR Parts 370-374 and 376). Frequently, the cause is the content of lead, mercury, cadmium or other toxic metals. Described below is an exemption from handling used electronic equipment as hazardous waste, available to collectors, dismantlers and recyclers when used electronic equipment will ultimately be recycled.
The "c7" Scrap Metal Exemption Notification for Collectors/Dismantlers/Recyclers
Most discarded electronics have sufficient quantities of scrap metal parts that they can be managed as scrap metal themselves. Therefore, the NYSDEC allows used electronic equipment to be exempted from management as hazardous waste if the following conditions are met:
- Scrap metal must ultimately be recycled [6 NYCRR 371.1(g)(1)(iii)(b))]: The scrap metal exemption requires that scrap metal pieces actually be reclaimed from the electronic equipment and recycled.
Note that the scrap metal exemption cannot apply to a part separated from the whole component unless that separated part independently contains scrap metal pieces that will ultimately be reclaimed. For example, an all-plastic case that was separated from a computer monitor could no longer qualify for the scrap metal exemption. CRT glass, once the scrap metal pieces have been separated from the glass may be regulated as hazardous waste. Note also that an item which qualifies as hazardous scrap metal is still a hazardous waste. It is merely exempted from regulation.
- Prior notification [6 NYCRR 371.1(c)(7)]: A "c7 Notification for Used Electronics Collectors/Dismantlers/Recyclers" (20.5 kb pdf) must be filed describing how the exemption is being met. For used electronic equipment that will be recycled, we interpret this to mean that parties located in New York State supply the company names and addresses of downstream vendors through ultimate smelter(s), both for scrap metal and for cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Used electronic equipment collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers who use this hazardous scrap metal exemption are required to file the notification with this office, prior to commencing operations, and to amend the notification if information provided on the notification changes. If more than one secondary recycler, scrap metal dealer or smelter is used, a list may be attached to the notification. It is especially important to include the names and addresses of downstream vendors who will receive computer monitors and televisions.
When deciding whether or not to file a "c7 Notification for Used Electronics Collectors/Dismantlers/Recyclers", you should consider the following:
- A notification is required by New York State collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers that receive used electronic equipment from non-household entities, except when the equipment is all working and will be sold or donated for reuse. Electronic products that are sold or donated for reuse are not considered to be discarded, and thus, cannot be subject to the solid or hazardous waste regulations (i.e., they are still products).
- If the collector, dismantler, or recycler does not know the condition or value of some or all of the equipment received, does not know the generator status of the supplying entity, or does not know whether the equipment will be reused or whether it will be dismantled or recycled, then having a notification on file with the NYSDEC allows for all these possibilities.
Additional Dismantling and Recycling Wastes
Used electronic equipment dismantlers and recyclers typically generate hazardous wastes such as batteries, mercury-containing lamps, and other mercury-containing components when electronics are dismantled. These wastes may be managed under applicable hazardous waste regulations found in 6 NYCRR Parts 370-374 and 376, or may be managed under New York State's Universal Waste Rule, which provides streamlined regulation for certain common recyclable wastes.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Export Provisions
On July 28, 2006, the USEPA promulgated special regulations for CRTs. Information on the USEPA's CRT Rule can be found on the right hand side of this page under "Links Leaving DEC's Website." The NYSDEC is currently working on a rulemaking to incorporate provisions of USEPA's CRT Rule into state regulation. However, most of USEPA's provisions will not be effective in NYS until adopted into state regulation. The export provisions, however, were effective nationally as of January 29, 2007. This means that any exporters of intact and broken CRTs (whether destined for reuse or recycling) are required to:
- Notify the USEPA of their intent to export.
- Receive consent from the receiving country.
NYSDEC Solid Waste Regulations
Currently, if used electronic equipment will be dismantled prior to sending the parts for recycling and disposal, collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers may also need to comply with the Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facility Regulations (6 NYCRR Subpart 360-12), permitting under 6 NYCRR Part 360, or modification to an existing permit depending on the scope of operations.
All non-hazardous wastes generated by collectors, dismantlers and recyclers, such as packaging wastes, must be managed under 6 NYCRR Part 360 as well.
For more information on these solid waste regulations, please contact the appropriate DEC Regional Solid & Hazardous Materials Engineer. The DEC Regional Office Directory lists the phone numbers for each DEC Regional Solid & Hazardous Materials Engineer.
Additional Requirements for Used Electronic Equipment Collectors
Multiple Collection Facilities
For used electronic equipment collectors with permanent collection at multiple facilities throughout the state (e.g. retail stores), a "c7 Notification" may be filed on a statewide basis. The notification must list the facility names and addresses of all collection locations covered by such notification.
Wireless Telephone Collection
Under the New York State Wireless Telephone Recycling Act, effective January 1, 2007, all wireless telephone service providers that offer wireless telephones for sale must accept wireless telephones from consumers for reuse or recycling. Chapter 730 of the Laws of 2006 requires these businesses to accept up to 10 wireless telephones from any person or provide shipping for those wireless telephones. Wireless telephones must also be managed as used electronic equipment in New York State.
Special Collection Event Locations
For used electronic equipment collectors holding an event, or periodic events, at a private collection location, the collector must notify the appropriate DEC Regional Solid & Hazardous Materials Engineer at least 60 days prior to the event(s). The DEC Regional Office Directory lists the phone numbers for each DEC Regional Solid & Hazardous Materials Engineer. The DEC Regional Office may need to review planning, traffic control, and site security, etc., for the event(s), and may specify storage time limits and other conditions as well.
Collected used electronic equipment managed under the scrap metal exemption of 6 NYCRR 371.1(g)(1)(iii)(b) is exempt from the transporter permitting requirements of 6 NYCRR Part 364 as scrap, provided that no other regulated waste is intermixed, contained in, or otherwise included with the used electronic equipment. (See Subparagraph 364.1(e)(2)(vi)).
Other Potential NYSDEC Requirements
Permits may also be required under DEC's Air or Water programs. The DEC's Regional Permit Administrator would be the appropriate contact for such inquiries. The DEC Regional Office Directory lists the phone numbers for each Regional Permit Administrator.
Also keep in mind that the county or municipality where your collection, recycling, or dismantling facility is located may have additional requirements for your facility to follow.
Used Electronic Equipment Proper Handling Practices
The following site management recommendations apply to all collectors, dismantlers, and recyclers of used electronic equipment:
- Used electronic equipment should be protected from weather and stored to protect from breakage. Breakage can result in the used electronic equipment being subject to hazardous waste generator requirements, and can result in lead, cadmium, or mercury contamination.
- Employees who handle the used electronic equipment should be made aware of safe handling practices to prevent breakage, and on how to handle any breakage.
- Equipment should be stored in an area that is inaccessible to the general public.
- Used electronic equipment should not be stored in lieu of disposal. Storage without evidence of the intent to recycle is subject to full hazardous waste regulation.
- All local codes must be met.