California takes a two-pronged approach to the management of electronic waste generated and handled in state.  First, all electronic waste is presumed hazardous regardless of generator sector and may not be disposed as municipal solid waste.  Instead it may be managed as a universal waste to encourage the compliant recovery and recycling of available resources. Second, California passed the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, which among other provisions provided a funding mechanism to offset the average net costs of collecting and processing certain “covered electronic devices”.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) maintains authority over the physical management of all electronic waste and also determines what types of video displays are “covered electronic devices” subject to the Electronic Waste Recycling Fee and, when discarded, are eligible for financial relief through the Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) Recovery and Recycling Program.  The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has primary authority over the financial aspects of the CEW program, ensuring that claimed material was eligible and properly handled.

A “covered electronic device” is a video display device containing a screen greater than 4 inches, measured diagonally, which is identified in the regulations adopted by DTSC. With certain exemptions specified in statute, covered electronic devices include:

      1. Cathode ray tube containing devices (CRT devices)

      2. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs)

      3. Computer monitors containing cathode ray tubes

      4. Laptop computers with liquid crystal display (LCD)

      5. LCD containing desktop monitors

      6. Televisions containing cathode ray tubes

      7. Televisions containing liquid crystal display (LCD) screens

      8. Plasma televisions

      9. Portable DVD players with LCD screens

Electronic Waste Recycling Fee history:

Screen Size

2005 thru 2008

2009 thru 2010

2011 thru 2012

2013 thru 2016

January 1, 2017 forward

>4” but <15”






15” but <35 “






35“ or more







 CEW Recovery and Recycling Payment Rate history:

Payment Rates per Pound

January 2005 thru June 2008

July 2008 thru June 2014

July 2014 thru June 2016

July 1, 2016 forward

Recovery Payment Rate





Combined Recovery and Recycling Payment Rate






Electronic Waste Recycling Act, as amended:

Historical Legislation:

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC):

Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle):

Cell Phone Recycling Law 

Key Dates:

February 1 -- Annual Reports due to DTSC for the handling and treatment of all universal waste electronic devices.
March 1 -- Net Cost Reports due to CalRecycle detailing the revenue and costs of recovering and recycling covered electronic waste.
April 1 -- Manufacturer notification to retailers of covered devices.
July 1 -- Manufacturer Reports due to CalRecycle quantifying and describing specified information related to covered electronic devices sold into California.

Last updated 12/28/17