Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003

California enacted the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (Act) of 2003 (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003) to establish a funding system for the collection and recycling of certain electronic wastes. The Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) Recycling Program is intended to provide convenient opportunities for all Californians to manage unwanted electronics properly.

The information on this page does not apply to battery-embedded products, to learn more visit the SB 1215 page.

Intent of the Act

  • Provide financial relief to responsible parties for managing CEW.
  • Foster cost-free and convenient recycling opportunities for consumers throughout the state.
  • Reduce illegal dumping and increase compliant management and disposition.
  • Eliminate the stockpile of waste computer monitors and TVs.
  • Decrease the amount of hazardous materials in covered devices.

Major Components of the Act

  • Assesses a covered electronic waste recycling fee on retail sales of covered electronic devices. 
  • Tasks CalRecycle with administering a payment system for collectors and recyclers to cover the average net costs of recovering and recycling CEW. 
  • Authorizes the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to develop regulations for the proper management (collection, storage, and recycling) of discarded electronic devices. 


  • Requires DTSC to adopt regulations consistent with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, limiting the concentration of hazardous metals in covered electronic devices offered for sale in California.
  • Establishes certain manufacturer responsibilities: consumer information, brand labeling, annual reporting, product design for recycling, and reduction of hazardous materials.

Implementing the Act

The Act required CalRecycle and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, in coordination with various stakeholders, to implement the various aspects of the law. Workshops have periodically been held to inform stakeholders and other interested parties about the Act from the signing of the law on September 24, 2003, through the implementation of the CEW Recycling Program and up to present day.

Visit the  CEW Recycling Program page for workshop, newsletter subscription, and contact information.