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Electronics recycling information for local governments

Wisconsin's electronics recycling law establishes a manufacturer-funded electronics collection and recycling program, called E-Cycle Wisconsin. The law also bans landfilling or incineration of many electronics. The law requires many local governments to educate their residents about electronics recycling. Local governments also have the option of collecting electronics under E-Cycle Wisconsin.

Wisconsin households, K-12 public schools and Parental Choice Program schools can recycle many of their electronics through E-Cycle Wisconsin.

How the electronics recycling law affects local governments

All local governments must properly manage electronics used in government offices. For information about recycling government-owned electronics, see Managing Used Electronics [PDF]

Only local government responsible units have specific requirements under the electronics recycling law. Other local units of government can choose to participate in the program as recyclers or collectors.

Local government outreach requirements

RUs must educate residents about the importance of recycling electronics and the landfill and incineration bans that went into effect in 2010. They must also let their residents know about e-cycling opportunities.

The law does not require RUs to use a specific method to educate residents. We encourage RUs to, at a minimum, include electronics recycling (also called e-cycling) information in their existing outreach efforts. Many RUs, especially those that collect electronics, may want to do additional outreach.

Newsletter articles, advertisements and brochures are popular outreach methods. These materials and other resources are available for free on the E-Cycle Wisconsin Outreach page.

Be sure your e-cycling outreach includes the following messages.

  • Many electronics can no longer be put in the garbage. For more information on the devices banned from Wisconsin landfills and incinerators, see Items Covered By Wisconsin's Electronics Recycling Law.
  • Why it is important to recycle electronics. Electronics contain valuable materials that can be recovered through recycling, and also contain potentially toxic materials that must be managed properly. For help with this, see Why to Recycle.
  • How residents, schools and businesses can recycle their electronics. For help with this, see How to recycle electronics in Wisconsin. You may also just direct residents to the DNR's electronics recycling pages and our list of registered electronics collection sites.

Deciding whether or how to collect electronics

Local governments may wish to continue or begin collecting electronics under E-Cycle Wisconsin, but are not required to do so.

The number of collection sites in your area is one factor that may help you decide if your local government should participate as a collector. If there are already good electronics recycling options for your residents, you can simply direct them to those locations.

If your community decides to register as a collector, you have many options for setting up your program. You may set up a permanent collection site or sites, or host one or two collection events each year (for example, as part of an existing Clean Sweep program). Some communities have teamed up to offer electronics collections. See a memorandum of understanding [PDF] among Jefferson County and several communities in the county for an example.

If you decide to become a collector, be sure to explore your options for recycling the electronics. Talk with several registered recyclers to find out what services they offer, and whether you would have any costs. Some communities have worked together to put out a joint request for bids or proposals.

Finally, the DNR has created a handout and short video summarizing best management practices for electronics collectors and E-Cycle Wisconsin requirements.

Last revised: Wednesday November 21 2018