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What do I Need to Know About Electronics Recycling?

Ken Black
Ken Black

When buying a new computer, television, or any other other type of electronic item, it may be hard to think of those as being hazardous waste. However, when those electronics are at the end of their useful lives, that is exactly what they can become. It is also why electronics recycling is so valuable. Those recycling centers specifically set up to deal with electronics know what needs to be done and to dispose of electronics in the safest manner possible.

Electronics recycling begins when an electronic product needs to be replaced. While many may feel, for example, it is acceptable to throw away a computer or other such item, there could be harmful materials such as mercury inside the machines that are not good for the environment. Thus, it is always a good idea to find a more proper means for electronics disposal. In some jurisdictions, electronics recycling may be mandated by law.

Broken computer monitors should be recycled rather than thrown in the trash.
Broken computer monitors should be recycled rather than thrown in the trash.

Whenever possible, if electronic components, such as a computer and monitor, are still functioning, donate them to a local organization that accepts them. Reuse is the highest, and most efficient, form of recycling and electronics recycling is no different. However, if there is no practical use for the product, there are other options.

In the United States and in some other countries, communities may offer electronics recycling as part of that community's normal waste disposal service. Check with your local service to find out what, if anything, is offered. Those communities not offering pickup service may have a central location where you can go to recycle electronics.

There are also many private companies set up for electronics recycling. Some may charge for certain components, depending on the component's relative value to them. This is normal and should not be considered unscrupulous. These companies must make money in some way. However, it is very important to properly vet any company engaging in electronics recycling.

Some companies, who claim to recycle electronics, may be involved in nothing more than stripping down the useful parts, those for which there is a market, and improperly disposing of the remainder. This will often put the same harmful materials in the environment that would have been there if the original consumer had just thrown the entire component away. While all electronics recyclers will strip useful parts, it is important to find out what they will do with the remainder. That will include disposing of hazardous materials in a way mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, if in the United States. If not in the United States, find your country's own regulatory body for recycling and waste and ask the recycler how they meet those standards.

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    • Broken computer monitors should be recycled rather than thrown in the trash.
      By: tankist276
      Broken computer monitors should be recycled rather than thrown in the trash.