It is no secret that e-waste is the fastest growing segment of California’s waste stream.

While e-waste represents 2% of the trash that ends up in landfills, it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.

The complexities of e-waste management present special challenges to businesses and organizations, specifically because e-waste is considered hazardous waste. Old electronics can contain up to 60 elements from the periodic table, as well as flame retardants and other toxic chemicals.

Here are just a few facts about the severity of the e-waste problem:

  • Every day, more than 10,000 computers become obsolete and are put aside in California.
  • Three-quarters of all of the computers sold in the U.S. remain stockpiled in a closet or storage space, according to a study by the National Safety Council’s Environmental Health Center.
  • E-waste poses a long-term threat to public health and the environment because it is the largest source of heavy metals and organic pollutants in our landfills

So if e-waste is not properly managed, the costs and liabilities could be huge.

Thankfully in California, we have some of the strongest e-waste recycling regulations in the country.

The Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 was established to keep electronics out of landfills and make it easier for all Californians to properly manage their used electronics.

CalRecycle, the agency responsible for managing that process, makes sure that all handlers of e-waste are properly vetted and that all used electronics can be tracked to their final destination.

At Surplus Service, we’re very familiar with the process because we’ve been certified by CalRecycle for years.

Because businesses will often contract with e-recyclers for asset management services, it’s important to understand the benefits of working with a certified CalRecycle e-waste disposal company. Here are some.

As one of the oldest e-waste regulators in the country, CalRecycle has developed a set of best practices for managing e-waste, and all certified e-recyclers have access to those resources and are expected to follow them. That means your organization will be working with a vendor that understands how to choose the most eco-friendly methods for disposing of your e-waste, how to prioritize upcycling and to properly manage assets so that data remains secure.

As a licensed California e-waste recycler, you have to meet standards that are among the highest in the country. CalRecycle electronics recyclers have to demonstrate through audits that they continually meet specific the highest environmental standards and safely manage used electronics. Ongoing oversight by CalRecycle holds the recycler to this particular standard.

The environmental standards maintained by CalRecycle also require e-recyclers to maximize their capacity for reuse and refurbishment, which not only means the recycler needs to be able to know how to make minor repairs to equipment but also properly manage the equipment when it reaches the end of its second life. The market for used computer equipment is very price-sensitive and in constant competition with declining prices and increasing performance of new electronic equipment. A good e-recycler will know how to leverage this secondary market so that your organization benefits in the end.

Bottom line: Working with a certified CalRecycle e-waste disposal vendor increases your organization’s chances of meeting its e-waste recycling goals because you know that the vendor doesn’t just care about the environment. The vendor is also concerned about reducing your exposure to any liabilities.

Surplus Service is a San Francisco, CA Bay Area-based award-winning e-waste management business that specializes in ITAD, medical recycling, electronic liquidation, reverse logistics and data eradication. As the No. 1 electronic reuse and recycling leader, our goal is to provide eco-friendly solutions that lead to the reuse of electronics rather than just having them recycled or end up in a landfill. To learn more about us, call one of our e-waste recycling specialists at (510) 226-0600 or email us at

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