FAQs For Consumers
What is E-Waste (Electronic Waste)?
E-waste or electronic waste refers to all electronic devices, surplus, damaged or obsolete, which have been discarded by their original owners. According to United Nations estimate, the world produces up to 50 million tons of e-waste per year.
“Anything that has a wire, a plug, a battery or runs on electricity, that you probably aren’t going to use ever again comprises of Electronic waste.”
Why is it important to recycle e-waste?
Do you really know your electronics recycler?
It can be difficult knowing the right questions to ask when investigating potential recycling service providers. Even professional environmental auditors often do not have the proper training or experience to properly audit an electronics recycling operation in a way that protects their clients’ from data security and environmental issues. Moreover, making sure recyclers continue to perform as promised is very expensive, with even the most careful due diligence sometimes failing to protect your company. The complexity of effectively screening and hiring electronics recyclers leads many companies to award e-waste contracts to service providers with the lowest cost and, the lowest integrity.
What are the important points to remember while donating computer equipment?
“If you would rather not dispose of the computer or electronics and want to offer them to people who have a need for the materials, there is the option of donating the equipment to a charity. There are a variety of charities that will take older computer materials and either use it in local facilities or process the items to be shipped overseas for use.
Where can I donate old computers, laptops, cell phones, TVs and other electronics?
Manufacturers and retailers offer several options to donate or recycle electronics. Search below to find programs developed by Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge participants. If you are an original equipment manufacturer or retailer, learn how to Join the SMM Electronics Challenge. Participation in the SMM Electronics Challenge is voluntary. EPA does not endorse any of the participants or their products and services.For more information, visit EPA website http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm
Where can I recycle my old electronics and computers?
While recycling computers, laptops, phones, printers, scanners, copiers, USBs, servers, TVs and other electronics it is important to only use eStewards or R2 certified e-cyclers. Search for a certified recycler near you using web sources like http://search.earth911.com/
Where to find and certified computer recycle Center?
Where can I find drop off Recycling Centers?
There are a number of drop off locations available to recycling your computers and other IT assets. More information can be found on http://search.earth911.com/
Where can I recycle TV?
There are a number of drop off locations available to recycling your Televisions. Since many of the old generation TVs consist of CRT glass, it is even more important to recycle these using certified e-waste recyclers. A list of certified e-waste recyclers can be found on www.estewards.org or search http://search.earth911.com/ for e-waste drop off centers.
What is CRT glass? Why is recycling CRT glass different from regular glass?
CRTs are the video display components of televisions and computer monitors. The glass in CRTs typically contains enough lead to require managing it as hazardous waste under certain circumstances. Under the previous regulations, businesses and other organizations that recycle or dispose of CRTs were sometimes unclear about the proper way to recycle or dispose of this equipment. That uncertainty sometimes prevented CRTs from being recycled and reused. EPA is changing CRT waste management requirements to promote additional safe recycling and reuse of CRTs. About 57 million computers and televisions are sold in the United States annually. (Reference source: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/recycling/electron/crt-fs06.htm)
What are e-waste Laws? Is it legal to dump computers in trash or landfills?
Many states have passed laws that prohibit throwing out electronics into the garbage. In addition to laws in these states, many cities and counties also have laws dictating the methods of electronic and computer disposal. It is important before throwing out any old computer parts or electronics to check with the appropriate government agencies to determine the proper methods.
The easiest method for determining the proper laws governing the region that you live in is to contact your local waste management company and local governments. Often government web sites will list the e-waste disposal rules under the terms "waste management", "recycling" or "environmental agency". Programs for disposal may be free or carry fees depending upon the item being turned in for disposal. (Reference source: http://compreviews.about.com/od/general/a/PCRecycling.htm)
What happens to the e-waste if not recycled through proper channels?
“Unfortunately, an incredibly small percentage of e-waste is recycled. Even when we take it to a recycling center it’s usually not actually recycled – not in the way most of us think of that term. A small percentage of e-waste is estimated to be sent to recyclers. In the U.S., as little as 11%-14%. The remainder is most often dumped or burned – either in formal landfills and incinerators, or informally dumped or burned. These inappropriate disposal methods for electronic waste fail to reclaim valuable materials or manage the toxic materials safely. In effect, our soil, water and air are easily contaminated.
An estimated 70-80% of the e-waste that’s given to recyclers is exported to less developed countries. Once there, primitive technologies such as open air burning and riverside acid baths are used to extract a few materials. The rest of the toxic materials are usually dumped. Unlike other countries in the world, the U.S. sends a significant portion of its hazardous e-waste to U.S. prisons to process in less-regulated environments without the worker protections and rights afforded in the private sector. Moreover, such operations amount to government subsidies, undermining the development of responsible private-sector recycling infra-structure and distorting the economics of recycling”. (Referencesource:www.estewards.com)
What are electronics manufacturer recycling programs?