Have you bought a new computer and don’t know what to do with the one you’re not going to use anymore? Before you can use your new device, you need to think about how important it is to recycle some of the components of your laptop instead of throwing it away like any other waste. This will be a guide on how you can properly recycle this electronic waste.
Do you know how to dispose of your hazardous electronic waste, also known as e-waste, properly? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Most Americans don’t even know what e-waste is, let alone how to properly dispose of it.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of electronics that can and can’t go into a regular recycling garbage can so you can recycle electronic devices.
While your cell phone has recyclable components, it’s not possible to go through the process from the curb. Frank Calderone of the Miami-Dade Solid Waste Department says you should avoid throwing your old phone in those blue garbage cans because it will only end up in a recycling center that is not equipped to recycle e-waste.
So it’s clearly not right to put your e-waste in the regular trash can. E-waste that is deposited in those garbage cans ends up in a landfill, where the metal components can leach toxic chemicals into nearby water supplies.
Instead, it is advisable to use the services offered by dedicated e-waste recycling companies. Department stores such as Staples and Best Buy also have garbage cans inside some locations where you can throw away your old device for free.
Computers are a bit more complicated. At some Best Buy locations, you can drop off your laptop to be recycled for free. For a fee of $30, they’ll take your monitor. Other companies are also clamoring to take your old computer. Why?
“Some of these devices have precious metals inside them”, explains Cesar Pineda, repair associate at Homeboy Electronics Recycling in Los Angeles.
These devices have components made of real gold, silver and copper that are lost when some people dispose of them improperly. In fact, the world loses $57 billion in precious metals each year when these electronics end up in landfills, according to a United Nations report.
That’s why social enterprises try to refurbish computers whenever possible. Most centers require you to drop off your device, but some will pick it up at your home for free.
If you are concerned about the privacy of the information contained on your devices, you can look for R2-certified recycling centers. That means they are classified as a “responsible recycler” that will erase hard drives of sensitive information.
As with computers, you can drop off small TVs at a Best Buy center for free recycling, but the key word is “small”, as Best Buy only accepts TVs under 50 inches.
For larger TVs, it’s best to go to the website of your local jurisdiction’s recycling or waste agency. For example, California has calrecycle.org, which allows you to find recycling centers throughout the state.
Both Staples and Best Buy offer free printer recycling and all the customer has to do is drop it off. However, you need to keep in mind that these stores have a limit on the number of devices that customers can drop off each day.
The best thing about recycling printers correctly is that you can even make money from it. Office Depot offers customers $2 per recycled ink cartridge, as the store saves money by refilling these used cartridges with new ink.
For phone chargers, smart watches and other complementary or smaller devices, a good place to start is to search online for “free electronics recycling center near me“. If you live in a large city, chances are your local jurisdiction has an e-waste recycling center somewhere in the area.
At eSmart Recycling we take care of managing electronic waste from companies and organizations, giving them a better use. By recycling computers and donating them to vulnerable people, we contribute to the environment and society. To date, we have provided computers to children in our community, who will have access to a more inclusive education.