You are probably aware that the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in the United States and European Union restrict the use of certain metals and substances in commercial products. These restricts are typically found on lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ether. These limitations on the use of such substances are designed to protect individuals and the environment. In other countries similar restrictions have been adopted on appliances, tools, consumer electronics, toys and medical devices.
In Canada, for example, a provincial electronics recycling program has been in place since 2004. Electronics are typically sold with an upfront recycling fee of up to $45. China's RoHS took effect in 2007 and restricts the use of mercury, cadmium, lead and hexavalent chromium in the use of future electronic manufacturing. In South Korea, similar legislation began being enforced in the same year.