California hazardous waste rules ban California residents from throwing most consumer electronics, batteries, and mercury-containing products in their trash cans. As a rule of thumb, if it has an on/off switch, it's considered to be universal waste.
These items contain harmful chemicals which, if disposed of improperly, may be harmful to people and the environment.
Virtually all electronic devices that contain a battery or circuit board - including computers, printers, cell phones, stereos, and even some appliances like microwave ovens - are targeted in the new regulations, because they often contain heavy metals like lead, copper, and chromium.
Household batteries, mercury thermometers, thermostats with mercury, fluorescent tubes, and compact bulbs are also among the prohibited products.