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End of Life Electronics Recycling

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End of Life Electronics Recycling

December 11, 2013

In this edition: How to classify firms that recycle electronic products.

The WCIRB frequently receives questions asking how to classify employers that handle e-waste. Typically, these are electronic products that have reached the end of their useful life. We are aware of three distinct business models that are common in the e-waste industry.

Some employers operate collection facilities or mobile collection programs to receive obsolete or broken electronic products. These firms sort the products by type and either prepare them for sale to separate concerns or for transfer to separate processing concerns. These employers receive, sort and package the items, but do not otherwise process them. These operations are classified as Classification 8018, Stores - wholesale.

Some employers process the electronic products by dismantling them to recover materials for sale. This is commonly done on computer equipment that may contain nonferrous metal and precious metal that is recovered and sold. Additional parts may be sorted for disposal; however these employers derive revenue primarily through the sale of the recovered metals. These operations are classified as 8500, Metal Scrap Dealers.

Some e-waste employers dismantle electronic products to prepare specific items that contain hazardous waste materials for proper disposal. An example is processing fluorescent tubes to remove mercury. In this case, the employer derives revenue through processing and disposal fees. As this is a hazardous waste transfer station, these operations are classified as 9424, Garbage, Ashes or Refuse Dump Operations.

While these examples are the three most common types of e-waste operations, each employer's classification assignment must be based on its own operations. In many instances, additional information regarding how the employer develops their revenue is necessary to clarify the nature of their operations.

To review the classification phraseology and footnotes for these classifications, see Part 3,Section VII, Standard Classifications, of the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan - 1995.

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