In today’s modern world, we use more and more electronics than ever, but are we disposing of them properly? If you’ve ever tossed an old phone or battery in the garbage simply because you didn’t know where else to get rid of it, then this article is for you. With as many devices as we use each day, electronic waste (or e-waste) is becoming a huge problem for our environment. But there are ways that we can make changes, one person at a time. Keep reading to find out exactly what you should be recycling, how to recycle old electronics, and more.
Why Recycle Electronics?
Electronics don’t belong in landfills like normal trash. In fact, it’s illegal for electronics to end up in landfills. This is due to the materials that make up these devices and how they can become hazardous when they break down. This is especially true for older electronics, which used to be constructed with materials that are now known to be dangerous, such as lead and cadmium. These hazardous materials could leak from landfills back into our ecosystem, ruining water and wildlife sources. For these reasons, always save your electronic recyclables.
Which Electronics You Can Recycle
There is a wide range of electronics that you can and should recycle. Some of these categories of electronics include TV and video, computers, tablets, printers, inks, cell phones, accessories, appliances, and more. Because there are so many categories of compatible gadgets, it’s understandable that there is a long list of electronics that you should recycle. Follow this breakdown for a more detailed guide on what you can recycle:
- TV & Video: TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, VCRs, projectors, remote controls, satellite boxes, antennas, and more.
- Computers: Desktops, PCs, monitors, hard drives, memory systems, computer batteries, and other computer accessories.
- Cellphones & tablets: Mobile phones, smart phones, landline phones, tablets, e-readers, and more.
- Accessories: Headphones, connector cables, batteries, charger ports and cables, speakers, and more.
- Printers: Printers, fax machines, scanning machines, printer ink, toner, and more.
- Appliances: Vacuum cleaners, automatic or “robot” vacuums, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, and other appliances.
- Video games: Consoles, handheld games, controllers, keyboards, memory cards, and more.
These are just some of the most common examples of electronics that we use daily. We can start being more responsible for the disposal of these items by recycling them properly.
Now that you know the types of electronics that you can recycle, you can explore the different options for recycling them properly. There are several options for general electronics recycling, though some may not be supported from community to community, especially in smaller towns. It’s important to do your research and find out the best way to safely send off your recycling.
Bring To a Recycling Facility
Even in smaller communities, one of the most widespread options is to drop off your electronics at an e-waste collection facility. In the effort to cut down on e-waste, nonprofit organizations and other drop-off locations are fairly common. If you’re not familiar with such a facility in your area, simply do a quick internet search for nearby e-waste recycling facilities. Some larger corporations and chain retail stores near you may also offer drop-off programs.
E-Waste Shipping Programs
One of the most accessible methods of this type of recycling is to ship your electronics through participating services and programs. For example, USPS will ship your e-waste directly to recycling facilities. With some services, you may even receive compensation for helping to keep these items out of the landfill. Along with protecting the environment, this is more reason than ever to start separating your gadgets when you’re finished with them.
Local Pickup Programs
Rather than shipping your gadgets yourself, you can even find a program that will come to you. For a low cost, or even no cost at all, some recycling programs offer a home pickup option. Again, some larger corporations, such as Best Buy, offer free electronics pickup services as well. You can also check with your community recycling company to see if they offer a separate electronics recycling pickup. In some areas, with the proper stickers and identification, you may even be able to put your e-waste out to the curb at the same time as your regular trash and recycling.
If you have electronics that you don’t use very often, rather than letting them sit to collect dust and degrade, you could opt to donate them. Take your used electronics to your local charity or donation center. This helps your electronics have a longer life and keeps them out of your trash pile. You could even donate or sell your old electronics for parts at a tech firm. These places can even find ways to refurbish and reuse electronics you may have thought dead.
Promoting Electronics Recycling
If you find it hard to remember to properly dispose of your electronic goods, there are ways that you can promote better recycling habits. Try investing in a new recycling bin to use exclusively for collecting recyclable electronics. If you have a designated spot for electronic recyclables in your home, you’re less likely to toss them into your regular trash bins. Explore the above recycling options in your area—you might even find that electronics recycling is as easy as a home pickup, which you will be ready for with your separated electronics bin. As a trash and recycling bin company with a variety of options, contact Trash Cans Depot if you need a designated bin.
Hopefully this guide helps answer the question of how to recycle old electronics and why it’s so important to do so in our modern world. You can get started by finding out what sorts of e-recycling options your community offers. We can all do our part to reduce e-waste—one household at a time.