There is no federal legislation pending to establish a federal e-waste take back program by consumer electronics companies, however 25 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.
Manufacturers own the problem and solution
The consumer electronics industry has stepped up its efforts. Through the trade association CEA, a number of industry-wide initiatives have been kicked off. As part of the CEA's eCycling push, manufacturers such as Apple have vowed to build greener products starting at the design stage when it says, "we create compact, efficient products that require less material to produce." CEA has also be begun an aggressive recycling campaign with a goal to collect 1 billion pounds of e-waste annually by 2016. Greenpeace estimates up to 50 billion pounds of of e-waste is created each year ( PDF).
To help consumers buy gear that is environmentally sound, Greenpeace created a ranking system for consumer electronics companies. It ranks companies based on criteria that looks at things such as if they use a certified recycling partners, whether or not they sell products that are free from hazardous substances and the extent to which they consider durability, streamlining of devices, re-usability and ease of repair.
(See related video: The environmental dangers of e-waste around the world)
According to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics , HP was the greenest on the list last year, followed by Dell, Nokia and Apple. On the other end of the spectrum, the environmental group determined that RIM, Toshiba and LG are not as environmentally conscious as they could be.
Companies combat waste
To combat the problem many big tech brands offer local drop off centers for old electronics, free shipping labels to send old tech gear back for recycling, and offer coupons for discounts on future purchases when consumers recycle. Here are links to recycling programs run by PC makers and consumer electronics companies: