• computer batteries
• computer towers
• fax machines
• microwaves phones
• monitors (computer only)
• power cords
• small appliances
• UPS systems
• VCRs/DVD players
Currently we CANNOT accept:
• air conditioners
• large appliances
• items over 40 lbs.
• light bulbs
Overview of Electronic Waste
Never has there been something so expensive that decreases in value so quickly: electronics. In 2005 the USEPA estimated that up 1.9 million tons of unused or unwanted electronics were sent to landfills while only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled. By filling up our landfills, large amounts of toxic materials can be released into the environment.
The famous phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” applies to Electronic Waste as well. The first step to reduce electronic waste happens before the equipment is purchased. Reuse functioning equipment by donating or selling it to someone who will use it. And if all else fails, recycle it. As always this will help to preserve our precious environment.
What is e-waste?
E-waste, or Electronic Waste, is an informal name that can be defined as electronic products and equipment that are near the end of their “useful life”. This could include computers, televisions, printers, copiers, scanners, VCRS, phones and more. Since there is no clear definition of e-waste sometimes microwave ovens, irons and similar household “appliances” are included in this category. When these products become “unused” or simply “unwanted” they should be considered for re-purposing, refurbishing and recycling.
How to prevent e-waste
Before you even decide to purchase an electronic device or equipment, consider the facts that ultimately will affect recyclability and efficiency of it. One should try to buy equipment with fewer environmental effects that will last longer. To evaluate a potential electronic purchase for green features look for these qualities:
• reduced toxic content
• greater recycled content
• higher energy efficiency
• longer life expectancy
• replaceable parts that are readily available
• easy upgrade-ability
• features that make recycling easier when it is eventually necessary
• Look for the Energy Star label on products like washers, TVs, heating and cooling systems. The USEPA Department of Energy Energy Star Program is a government/industry partnership that identifies businesses that want to help the environment and save the consumer money.
Also consider the packaging of the product and how that should be managed. Common packaging materials such as cardboard and plastic are reusable and recyclable.
Hazards of e-waste
Disposing of e-waste in landfills not only causes them to fill up quicker but has the potential to cause severe human and environmental health impacts. For example, computers are filled with toxic materials, such as mercury and lead.
Here are some common toxic materials present in computers:
• mercury, which causes damage to the brain
• lead, which causes damage to the nervous system, blood system, and kidneys
• cadmium, which accumulates in the kidneys
• brominated flame-retardants, which can cause neurotoxic effects, especially in babies
• poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) which, when incinerated, produces fatal fumes
When you decide that you no longer want an electronic device or piece of equipment think before you recycle it! Can it be repurposed in any way? Follow these steps and questions suggested by the USEPA:
• Assess the equipment. Does it still work?
• Is there a school or non-profit organization that could use it?
• Consider repair. If the equipment does not work, is it possible to repair it or use the parts to repair other systems?
• Can you donate it to a local charity?
• Find a larger, nonprofit organization that is specialized in distributing computers to those in need.
If you are donating your computer or device with private information on it, make sure to remove all of the data.
Finally recycle e-waste
There are multiple reasons to recycle e-waste. Most importantly is to preserve our natural resources! Keeping valuable materials from going into the waste stream is prevented by recycling and is essential in maintaining a healthy planet. Also many computer, TV, cell phone manufacturers and electronic retailers offer some kind of take back program. This is another fact to consider before purchasing electronic equipment that could even help you save money.