As newer gadgets – from the coolest new cell phones to the sleekest computers – rapidly make older models obsolete, the resulting waste is creating serious environmental and public health problems. Recycling used electronics is one solution.
Why Recycle Used Electronics?
How and Where to Recycle Used Electronics?
- To keep waste out of landfills. In 2007, 1.84 million tons of TVs, cell phones and computer products were disposed of in landfills, while 414,000 tons were collected for recycling. (US EPA)
- To protect your family’s health. Electronics contain toxins such as lead and mercury that are released when they begin to break down in landfills. For example, older-style TVs and computer monitors can contain 4-8 pounds of lead each. These toxins can leech out of landfills and into surrounding areas. Recycling prevents this from happening by keeping materials in safe use.
- To conserve natural resources. Recovering and reusing the valuable materials that make up your used electronics reduces the amount of additional natural resources needed to make new ones.
When you’re ready to move on to your upgraded TV, phone or computer, there are several options for recycling your used products.
- Look for an electronics or household hazardous waste recycling event near you – such as the one sponsored by the Sabres on December 6th. Contact your local town or city to find out when they offer such recycling events.
- Cell phones can be donated to the Erie County Sheriff’s Department to be reused by community organizations for 911 emergency use. Many Erie County libraries also recycle used cell phones – contact your local library to find out if they are participating.
- Many retailers such as Best Buy, Office Max and Home Depot offer recycling services for customers. Earth911 offers a tool to search for recycling centers in your zip code.
- Coming Soon! New legislation passed in NY State requires manufacturers of consumer electronics to also start recycling these products. Look for new opportunities to recycle electronics in the coming months.
Acceptable technology equipment under the program:
Not acceptable Equipment:
- Table top printers
- Fax machines
- CRT's (Cathode Ray Tube Monitors)
- Flat screen monitors
- PC Mice
- PC Keyboards
- MP3 playters
- Cell phones
- Audio visual equipment
- Digital cameras
- VCR/DVD players
- Portable video game players & consoles
- Stereos and radios
Equipent that is not acceptable under the program:
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- Household appliances
- Electric stoves/ranges
- Microwave ovens
- Toaster ovens
- Clothes washers
- Clothes dryers
- Blenders or mixers
- Coffee makers
Many recycling services provide the added benefit of cleaning data from your computer before it is reused. Find out beforehand if this service is offered wherever you are taking your computer for recycling. If not, it is recommended that you use a disk-cleaning software product to remove personal information from your hard drive. Even if you have deleted files and emptied your trash folder, data may still be on your hard drive.
For more information about technology recycling, and many other topics, visit GrowWNY.org