Stakeholders and roles

Minnesota’s Electronics Recycling Act is a “product stewardship” approach that requires manufacturers of certain consumer electronics (video display devices) to share financial responsibility for the collection and recycling of consumer electronics (covered electronic devices). Signed into law in May 2007, the act addresses only select household electronics; devices sold to schools, businesses, or other organizations are not affected.

The law formally identifies many stakeholders and details specific responsibilities and requirements for each, including registration and annual reporting on their activities. Other parties are affected by the law, including retailers, local government and consumers, but play a more limited role.

Manufacturers

A manufacturer makes video display devices for sale under its own brand, or has others make products under its brand.

Collectors

A collector is "a public or private entity that receives covered electronic devices from households and arranges for the delivery of the devices to a recycler."

Recyclers

Recyclers accept "covered electronic devices" from households or collectors of these devices in Minnesota. Recyclers dismantle the devices for further processing or process the devices into raw materials for use in new products.

Retailers

Retailers of video display devices can sell only registered brands to households; this includes online sales and catalog sales as well as physical retail outlets. The law does not apply to business or institutional sales. Retailers are required to provide recycling information to their customers. 

State government

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is the lead agency for implementing the law in Minnesota, working with stakeholders and providing information and education. As directed by the Legislature, the MPCA provides analysis of the law and resulting program to ensure that it meets needs and expectations.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue collects fees from registered manufacturers. They administer manufacturers’ reporting of recycling efforts and sales, as well as collect any fees if recycling obligations are not met. The Department of Revenue is able to keep sales data confidential.

Local government

Although there is no requirement for county or city governments to provide collection services for waste electronics, many offer service to residents. In some areas around the state, local government may be the sole provider of such services. One of the goals of the Minnesota law is shifting the responsibility of paying for collection services away from local governments while increasing opportunities for consumers to recycle their unwanted electronics.

Consumers

Minnesota's law does not require free recycling for consumer electronics, but there has been an increase in the number of collection opportunities, including many charging no fees for disposal.