ELECTRONIC WASTE, COMMONLY KNOWN AS E-WASTE, IS DISCARDED ELECTRICAL OR ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Today’s rapid pace of technological innovation has resulted in a relatively new waste stream called e-waste. E-waste consists of outdated household electronics such as televisions, computers, peripherals, cell phones, office equipment, and nearly anything with a screen or cord.
Because electronics contain heavy metals that are harmful when released into the environment, e-waste is prohibited from traditional disposal methods like landfilling or incineration. E-cycling a product at the end of its useful life ensures these harmful heavy metals are safely managed and that valuable precious metals such as copper, gold, tin, silicon, and aluminum can be reclaimed.
Refurbishing (repairing) electronics while they are still within their useful life reduces electronic waste and is the first option when managing e-waste. However, many consumers opt to replace an item entirely, because buying new is cost competitive and more convenient than fixing their old one. Consumers can then e-cycle their old product in a variety of ways.
Check with private companies to see if they have take-back programs for their products. Take-back programs are a form of extended producer responsibility that require the producer to accept an electronic device at the end of its life cycle to manage its proper disposal. Second, investigate the e-cycling programs offered by your solid waste management district or city. Most have limits to what they can accept and are only open to residents. Third, look into local, private, certified e-cyclers where you can drop off your materials. These facilities are certified to process certain types of electronic waste onsite. Finally, if you cannot find a service in your area, there are also many mail-based takeback programs for which you can register online.
Cathode Ray Tube televisions, also known as CRTs, contain leaded glass and require meticulous processing to e-cycle. The components produced (plastic, glass, lead, phosphorous, metals) have little to negative market value. Therefore, there is often a fee charged to dispose of outdated tube TVs to covers the cost to manage these materials. It is very important these TV’s stay out of the landfill as they can leach lead into the surrounding groundwater. Check with your local solid waste management district or e-cycler for rates.