E-Waste Disposal: Are You Doing It Right?

Chances are, you’ve got an old TV or two, a laptop, and an ancient desktop computer laying around your house. Sound familiar? Electronics become obsolete quickly, leaving us wondering what we do with them once we no longer use them.

You might think that throwing them out with your regular trash is the answer but think again. E-waste disposal should be taken seriously, as not disposing of it properly can harm our ecosystem. Keep reading to learn more about e-waste and how to properly dispose of it.

What is E-Waste?

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand what exactly is included in the “e-waste” category. Electronic waste, or e-waste, includes any electronic equipment, including:

  • VCRs
  • computer towers
  • monitors
  • TVs
  • cell phones
  • CD players
  • fax machines
  • printers

Most electronics contain harmful elements, such as beryllium, mercury, lead, or cadmium. If not disposed of properly, these leak into our soil and water, contaminating our ecosystems.

Proper E-Waste Disposal

Now that you know you can’t just throw your electronics out with your regular trash or recycling, what do you do with them? There are a few ways you can recycle these materials if you do your homework.

1. Look for Recyclers with an e-Steward Label

The e-Steweard label is given to recyclers who use safe means to process e-waste. The label is awarded by the Basel Action Network, which is a non-profit group trying to stop the transportation of e-waste to developing nations.

Many recyclers sell their e-waste to developing countries like Nigeria, Somalia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. In these countries, workers (often including children) strip the electronics of their valuable components and then burn off the remaining parts.

This creates hazardous clouds of pollutants that can significantly impact the health of those involved.

Before you recycle your e-waste, use the tool on the e-Stewards website to determine if they are certified.

2. Check With the Manufacturer

Many manufacturers will accept your old electronics for recycling. Check with them to see if they offer and recycling programs and before you send anything off, make sure they are certified as e-Stewards.

In addition to manufacturers, other organizations may seek donations of your unwanted (but still usable) electronics, such as Cell Phones for Soldiers programs.

3. Place Anything that is Leaking or Has Broken Glass in a Separate Bag or Container

If you have old electronics that are leaking, put them in a separate, sturdy container and include an absorbent material, such as kitty litter, to soak up anything that might be leaking.

If you have a TV or monitor with broken glass, this should also be packed in a sturdy box with an absorbent material in case anything begins to leak.

4. Spread the Word

Make sure your friends and family know about e-waste and how to dispose of it properly. Educate them about the hazards of improper disposal, how to find a safe recycler, and what they should be aware of when disposing of electronic waste.

Are You Doing Right?

Have you been disposing of your e-waste properly or do you find that you’ve made some of the mistakes mentioned here? It’s not too late to change your ways, though, if you haven’t been recycling properly.

If you are in need of e-waste disposal, or recycling of other sensitive materials, such as medical waste, contact us today for a free quote.