How To Recycle Old Electronics

Posted on: 10 August 2015

Recycling electronics can require more footwork than recycling paper and common plastics, but recycling these items has a great positive impact on your carbon footprint. Here's what you need to know about recycling electronic goods.  

Why it's Important to Recycle Electronics

You may be wondering whether recycling electronics is worth the hassle; it's often difficult to find a convenient bin for recycling these products. Large electronic products can take a huge toll on landfills, but they also may release many hazardous materials into the environment. For instance, lead, mercury, and lithium from your electronics may leach into the water supply when these products are tossed in a landfill.

Where to Send Electronic Items

Instead of sending your electronics to the dump, you have a number of options for disposing of them safely. If the electronics are still useable, send them to a thrift store. For phones, many phone manufacturers have programs where they will accept old phones and recycle them for you. Some will even offer you a discount on a new phone purchase when you bring in your old phone for recycling.  For old computers, you may be able to sell the junk computer online so that someone else can use it for parts. Items like hard drives and logic boards can remain useful well after the computer has become outdated.

If your old electronics contain valuable metals, such as strips of silver or platinum, then you may want to remove these and sell them to a scrap metal buyer. Finally, you may have to get creative in finding ways to recycle old electronics; turning an old computer into an aquarium, for example, can make for a fun craft project while reducing waste.

Electronics Recycling Services

If you don't have time for stripping and sorting your electronics for recycling, you can always go through a recycling service (such as Arcoa). Electronics recycling services will take your items and distribute the parts to their correct recycling facilities.  

Whether or not you have to pay for this service will depend on a few factors. If the electronics contain precious metal parts, then you may be able to get a pickup service for a large volume of materials. If not, you'll often pay per pickup. If you have many materials to recycle, it can be helpful to rent a recycling bin and transport your electronics to the facility in order to cut down on costs. However you choose to do it, recycling your electronics can have a big cumulative effect on the environment.