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Reduce E-Waste - How to Dispose of Your Old Electronics Responsibly

Updated on May 28, 2015

Are you making an effort to reduce e-waste and dispose of it responsibly? Before you throw your broken tv, old computer or unwanted radio on the trash pile, please consider the impact of your decision.

In 2008, Americans owned approximately 24 electronic products per household and that number may be growing as we become more and more reliant on new technology. Many of these items become outdated quickly. What happens to all of that old stuff when it's replaced with shiny new stuff?

Americans generate millions of tons of electronic waste each year and despite the fact that over 20 states now have recycling laws, tons of this toxic e-waste is still ending up in landfills. Toxins from its components, like lead, mercury, cadmium and more are leached into the environment.

Here are some suggestions for ridding yourself of unwanted items in a more environmentally friendly way.



Products in good working order should make their way into the hands of someone who will use them, but who will want the ones in need of repair?

Try the Goodwill. They've teamed up with Dell for a program called Dell Reconnect. They'll take the junk off your hands and recycle it responsibly. They'll accept things like scanners, printers, computers, Xbox consoles, keyboards and even cords and cables. You can search for a drop off location near you at the Dell Reconnect website. Some Goodwill locations may accept items like tvs and cell phones. Call your local store to learn if they'll accept those products.

Consider giving your old computer to Habitat for Humanity. In some locations, they've partnered with businesses that can refurbish computers that will be donated to families who have none. If items can't be repaired, they'll be recycled responsibly.

Join a Freecycle group in your area. List your unwanted items for free and someone in your community that has the skills to repair the items, or would like the parts, might take the old stuff off your hands.


If you're the handy sort, you might find some ways to turn your trash into something usable.



All recycling is good, right? Not necessarily. Companies have shipped tons of toxic e-waste overseas to be broken down by indigent workers, some of who are children. These untrained and unprotected workers and their communities are exposed to our toxic discards. Make sure your unwanted items don't become someone's headache by choosing reputable recyclers.

Best Buy offers an e-cycle program and promises to use only reputable companies to recyle your unwanted electronics. They'll take items like televisions, cell phones, computer monitors and more and recycle most of these at no charge.

Staples will reward you for bringing in your unwanted ink and toner cartridges and they offer free recycling of rechargeable batteries. They'll accept Dell computers, monitors and printers for recycling, free of charge but will ask a fee for other brands.

You can search for more responsible recyclers at the e-Stewards website. This certification program for responsible recyclers is an initiative of the non-profit organization, The Basel Action Network (BAN). The goal of the program is to create a network of responsible collection that will keep your e-waste from poisoning people or the environment.


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    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      Donate is the way I go and needing to do that again soon, thanks for the reminder. Great hub!


    • saif113sb profile image

      saif113sb 6 years ago

      Very very nice and great information hub. thanks

    • profile image

      kims3003 6 years ago

      Very well done hub with excellent information. Nice writing style too!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Great tips you have here!