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Wireless Service Providers

Wireless Telephone Recycling Act, Effective January 1, 2007

This letter was distributed to wireless telephone service suppliers to provide information regarding the Wireless Telephone Recycling Act, which became effective January 1, 2007. This law, which established Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), Article 27, Title 23 requires in part that all wireless telephone service suppliers that sell wireless telephones must provide for the reuse, recycling, or proper disposal of wireless phones. The law also requires wireless telephone service suppliers to post a sign that summarizes their responsibilities under the law.

Applicability of Legislative Requirements

The requirements of this law apply to all wireless service suppliers who engage in the retail sales of wireless cell phones whether the sales are in their own stores, or in other stores, outlets or kiosks. The law also applies to any retailer who acts as an agent of the wireless telephone service supplier by selling the telephone and wireless telephone service.

Collection/Shipping of Wireless Phones for Reuse and Recycling

ECL 27-2303(1)(a) states that every wireless telephone service supplier engaged in the retail sale of wireless telephones shall:

  1. accept, at no charge, up to ten used wireless telephones from any person during the normal business hours of such business; or
  2. offer to any person at no charge, the shipping of used wireless telephones to a recycling program conducted by such business. Information about such a program shall be readily available at such business locations and on its website.

In addition, the wireless telephone service supplier shall take reasonable steps to ensure that each used wireless telephone accepted or shipped shall either be recycled, reused or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner (ECL 27-2303(2)).

All collected wireless telephones must be sent for reuse, refurbishment followed by reuse, given to charity if useable, or sent for recycling and scrap metal recovery. To avoid complex regulatory and management requirements, collected wireless telephones must not be disposed in the trash at the collection site, or at a later point in the return chain. Wireless telephone suppliers are required to demonstrate, and be able to prove through documentation, that the used cell phones collected were properly directed for recycling or reuse. Documentation would include a description of the activity and the name and address of the receiving facilities.

Proper Notice

The law requires wireless telephone service suppliers to post a sign summarizing their responsibilities under the law. ECL 27-2303(1)(b) states that: "Every wireless telephone service supplier required to accept used wireless telephones or provide shipping at no charge for used wireless telephones pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall conspicuously post a sign open to public view, clearly indicating that used wireless telephones are accepted or shipping is provided at no charge. Such signs may also state that used wireless telephones shall only be accepted during normal business hours, and may state such hours."

Enclosed for your convenience is a sample sign that may be used to comply with this requirement.

If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Materials Management, at (518) 402-8706, or email the Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling.

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