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For information on E-Cycle Wisconsin, contact:
DNRWAe-cycling@Wisconsin.gov
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E-Cycle Wisconsin program information

E-Cycle Wisconsin is a statewide, manufacturer-funded program that recycles certain electronics used in homes and schools. Individuals, K-12 public schools and Parental Choice Program schools can use E-Cycle Wisconsin to save on electronics recycling. Others may use the program to find responsible recyclers. Manufacturers, recyclers, collectors, retailers, local governments and others have important roles to play in making E-Cycle Wisconsin a success.

Program overview

Overview of Wisconsin's electronics recycling law

E-Cycle Wisconsin takes a product stewardship approach to electronics recycling. Each year, manufacturers of products covered by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law must pay for electronics to be recycled. This funding makes it easier for individuals and schools to recycle old electronics.

The E-Cycle Wisconsin program is supported by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law (2009 Wisconsin Act 50), which bans electronics such as TVs, computers and cell phones from Wisconsin landfills and incinerators.

Who does the law affect?

The law establishes requirements for manufacturers, recyclers and collectors to ensure recycling is done in an environmentally sound manner. There are also requirements for consumers, electronics retailers and local government responsible units (RUs). Find the category that best describes you below to learn more about your role in electronics recycling with E-Cycle Wisconsin.

Consumers

Consumers are responsible for recycling their used electronics. Individuals, K-12 public schools and Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools may recycle electronics through E-Cycle Wisconsin. Businesses are not covered by E-Cycle Wisconsin unless the business falls into one of the categories below. By law, businesses must still recycle, reuse or manage their electronics as hazardous waste.

Electronics manufacturers

An electronics manufacturer is a company that makes one of the items covered by Wisconsin’s electronics recycling law and intends for this item to be sold to Wisconsin households or schools. Manufacturers must register annually with E-Cycle Wisconsin and fund a certain amount of electronics recycling in the state each year.

Electronics collectors

Collectors receive electronics from Wisconsin households or schools and deliver them (or arrange to have them delivered) to an electronics recycler. Collectors participating in E-Cycle Wisconsin must register and report annually to the DNR and follow program requirements.

Electronics recyclers

Recyclers take in electronics from collectors, households or schools and recycle them on behalf of electronics manufacturers. Recyclers participating in E-Cycle Wisconsin must register and report annually and follow certain program requirements.

Electronics retailers

Electronics retailers are businesses that sell electronics covered by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law to households, K-12 public schools and/or Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools. This includes retailers that sell through direct sales, sales outlets, catalogs or the Internet. Retailers can only sell registered brands of covered electronics to Wisconsin households and schools and must let customers know about the electronics disposal bans and electronics recycling opportunities.

Local governments and responsible units

Local government recycling responsible units (RUs) must inform their residents about electronics recycling and the electronics disposal bans. The DNR can provide local governments with materials to use in informing the public. Any local government may also register as a collector or recycler under E-Cycle Wisconsin.

Results

Program results

To handle the increasing volume of e-waste, protect workers and the environment and recover valuable materials, Wisconsin joined a growing number of states with electronics recycling laws in 2009. The state’s electronics recycling law, 2009 Wisconsin Act 50, set up a product stewardship program in which electronics manufacturers fund a statewide collection and recycling system. The law also banned many consumer electronics from Wisconsin landfills and incinerators.

To evaluate the law's implementation and effects, the DNR has conducted surveys, analyzed information submitted by program participants and gathered stakeholder feedback to produce a series of reports, available below.

2014 report to the governor and Legislature

In November 2014, the DNR submitted its annual report on the electronics recycling law to the Legislature and Governor Walker. The report presents results from program year 5 (July 2013 to June 2014), during which E-Cycle Wisconsin collectors received 37.2 million pounds of eligible electronics, or about 6.5 pounds per capita.

E-cycling infographic

This infographic summarizes the problem of e-waste and results from the first four years of Wisconsin's electronics recycling law. Individual graphics are available upon request.

Household electronics recycling survey results

The DNR has conducted four statewide household surveys since 2006 asking residents what they have done with unwanted electronics, how many electronics are in their homes, what makes it difficult to recycle electronics and other related questions. The results have been summarized in two reports that focus on the 2013, 2011 and 2010 surveys.

Survey of local governments in Wisconsin

In mid-2013, the DNR conducted an online survey of local governments in Wisconsin to get a broader picture of how the electronics recycling law affects them.

Survey of landfill and transfer station operators

In fall 2012, the DNR conducted an online survey of Wisconsin solid waste landfill and transfer station operators to learn about how the electronics disposal ban is working. A summary of the results is available below.

Survey of public lands managers about illegal electronics dumping

In late 2011, the DNR conducted an online survey of public land managers in Wisconsin to learn about illegal electronics dumping on their properties.

Earlier results summaries and legislative reports

Covered devices

Devices covered by Wisconsin's electronics recycling law

To encourage recycling, Wisconsin's electronics recycling law makes it illegal to throw certain items into the trash. The law also sets up two categories of electronics that manufacturers, recyclers and collectors must understand.

Items that may not be put in the trash

The law bans the landfilling and incineration of several consumer electronics. These bans apply no matter where the devices are from or who used them - including households, schools, businesses, governments and institutions. Specifically, the bans include:

  • televisions;
  • computers (desktop, laptop, netbook and tablet computers);
  • desktop printers (including those that scan, fax and/or copy);
  • computer monitors;
  • other computer accessories (including keyboards, mice, speakers, external hard drives and flash drives);
  • e-readers;
  • DVD players, VCRs and other video players (i.e., DVRs);
  • fax machines; and
  • cell phones.

Get information on how to recycle electronics.

See Guidance on Landfill and Incineration Ban Enforcement [PDF].

E-Cycle Wisconsin device categories

Covered electronic devices (CEDs) is the category used to determine which manufacturers must register under E-Cycle Wisconsin and how much they must recycle each year. CEDs include:

  • computers (desktop, laptop, netbook and tablet computers);
  • desktop printers and printer/fax/copier/scanner combinations; and
  • video display devices, including televisions, computer monitors and e-readers with displays of 7" or more in the longest diagonal direction.

Eligible electronic devices (EEDs) is a broader category of devices that manufacturers can count toward their recycling obligation. EEDs include:

  • televisions;
  • computers (desktop, laptop, netbook and tablet computers);
  • desktop printers (including those that scan, fax and/or copy);
  • computer monitors;
  • other computer accessories (including keyboards, mice, speakers, external hard drives and flash drives);
  • e-readers;
  • DVD players, VCRs and other video players (i.e., DVRs); and
  • fax machines

EEDs do NOT include cell phones, digital cameras, iPods, etc.

Both categories only cover electronics sold to Wisconsin households, K-12 public schools and Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools are part of the E-Cycle Wisconsin program.

Recycling targets, credits and shortfall fees

Recycling targets, carryover credits and shortfall fees

Wisconsin's electronics recycling law requires manufacturers of covered electronic devices (CEDs) to recycle a target amount of eligible electronic devices (EEDs) from Wisconsin households, K-12 public schools and Milwaukee Parental Choice Program schools each year. Manufacturers must work with registered E-Cycle Wisconsin collectors and recyclers to accomplish their recycling targets. If manufacturers exceed their recycling targets, they earn carryover credits. If manufacturers do not meet their targets they must pay shortfall fees.

Recycling targets overview

Each program year (July through June), manufacturers must recycle 80 percent of the weight of CEDs they sold to Wisconsin households and covered schools during the program year two years prior. For example, in the program year beginning July 1, 2014, the targets are based on sales during the 12-month period beginning July 1, 2012.

Manufacturers may estimate the total weight of CEDs sold based on national sales data or use actual sales data. Manufacturers must provide information on how they calculated their targets to the DNR upon request.

If a manufacturer has only recently begun selling CEDs in Wisconsin and did not have any sales during the relevant time period, its recycling target is 0.

Manufacturers must report their targets for a given program year on their registration forms for that year (due Sept. 1).

Year 6 recycling targets

For program year 6 (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015): multiply the total weight of CEDs sold to the covered groups between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, by 0.8.

Meeting recycling targets

To meet its target, a manufacturer may recycle any EED of any brand. Manufacturers are not required to accept all EEDs or all brands. Manufacturers may work with any registered E-Cycle Wisconsin recyclers to meet their recycling targets.

At the end of each program year, a manufacturer must compare the total weight of EEDs it recycled during the program year to its recycling target, and determine whether it can receive carryover credits or must pay a shortfall fee.

Rural incentive

To increase collection in underserved parts of the state, the law allows manufacturers to multiply by 1.25 the weight of EEDs collected from households and covered schools in rural counties.

When a manufacturer reports on the weight of EEDs recycled during a program year, it should note the weights from rural vs. urban counties.

Carryover credits

If a manufacturer recycles more than its target recycling weight during a given program year, it earns recycling credits equal to the number of excess pounds, up to 20 percent of its recycling target. That is, if a manufacturer's target is 1,000 pounds, it can carry over up to 200 pounds of credits.

Manufacturer may use credits to help meet their recycling target in any of the next three program years, or may sell credits to another manufacturer for use in any of the next three program years.

Manufacturers will report to the DNR on the number of credits earned, used, sold or bought during a program year.

Shortfall fees

If a manufacturer fails to reach its recycling target, it must pay a shortfall fee along with its registration fee for the next program year.

Shortfall fees are based on a graduated scale determined by how far short of its recycling target the manufacturer is for the program year.

The fees are as follows:

  • 50 cents per pound if the manufacturer's total weight of EEDs recycled is less than 50 percent of its target.
  • 40 cents per pound if the manufacturer's total weight of EEDs recycled is between 50 and 90 percent of its target.
  • 30 cents per pound if the manufacturer's total weight of EEDs recycled is between 90 and 100 percent of its target.

Resources

Electronics recycling law resources

The following resources provide more details about Wisconsin’s electronics recycling law, requirements for managing used electronics and E-Cycle Wisconsin. You can also find additional resources on the outreach page.

E-Cycle Wisconsin outreach resources

Lists of E-Cycle Wisconsin registered participants
Technical assistance for complying with the electronics recycling law
Text of Wisconsin's electronics recycling law

2009 Wisconsin Act 50 (electronics recycling law) [PDF, exit DNR]

2014 stakeholder meeting information

In May 2014, the DNR held a stakeholder meeting for E-Cycle Wisconsin participants and others interested in electronics recycling. The links below provide a summary of the meeting and information given to meeting attendees.

Last revised: Wednesday December 17 2014