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Archive

Proper Disposal and Recycling of E-Waste

May 20, 2008 11:12 by Steve
            

In addition to “traditional” recycling programs, some electronics manufacturers and retailers also offer e-waste recycling. Many manufacturer-sponsored programs will accept and process their brand for free. Some accept other brands for a small fee.

Manufacturer Specific Programs

Retailer Programs

  • Circuit City (Easy-trade in program)
  • Best Buy
  • Staples (accepts computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all-in-ones)
  • EPA Plug-In Partners (lists manufacturers, retailers and service providers that offer recycling of e-waste)

Donation

  • EPA—lists options for donating or recycling e-waste
  • Techsoup—lists non-profit organizations and recyclers of e-waste
  • Goodwill (some locations accept computers)—Web site includes tips on how to donate computers

Cell Phone Recycling/Donation

Recycling Preparation

After determining what options are available, it is important to determine whether a recycler is operating under strict environmental controls and high worker safety protections. A few general questions to ask include:

  1. Is the recycler certified (such as an ISO 14001 environmental management certification) and does it follow a set of industry recognized guidelines?
  2. Does the recycler actually recycle most of the e-waste materials collected (It is best if the company can recycle 90 percent or more of the materials)?
  3. Does the recycler have written procedures for removing and disposing of mercury lamps in electronic products? Many manufacturer and government sponsored programs have extensive online information detailing the way in which recycling is handled.

Recently, the issue of electronics being exported overseas has become both an environmental and a health concern. The Basel Action Network and the Electronics TakeBack Campaign have qualified a group of electronics recyclers known as e-Stewards that have met criteria for globally responsible recycling.

In addition to choosing a recycler, it is also important to prepare your e-waste for recycling. For computer recycling, one important concern is to erase all data from the computer before sending it off for recycling.

However, this should be a factor regardless of what one does with an old computer because electronic data can be retrieved from hard drives. There are many options (such as software) to ensure that the data is permanently erased.

In fact, many recycling firms will scrub the hard drive and certify that all data has been erased. Before sending your computer to a recycler, check to verify that this option is available.

Taken From Earth911.org