Dealing with Discarded Electronics
Business and local waste management officials are facing a new challenge, discarded electronics; also known as "Ewaste." Millions of consumers are buying new electronic products and simply discarding an older functioning product. These old televisions, computers, cell phones, and other appliances could have a second life if they were donated to a recycling or reuse program. The issue of lost resources and unwanted materials in municipal landfills can be avoided by donating these items.
Issues with Discarded Electronics
Hazardous component constituents like lead, mercury and cadmium can be found in televisions and computer monitors. Materials such as nickel, beryllium, and zinc can be found in circuit boards. It is important that we be careful how we dispose these items due to the presence of these substances. Non-residential waste generators must conduct a hazardous waste determination before sending ewaste for disposal.
What Should I Consider Before I Buy a New Electronic Device?
Keep the environment in mind by asking:
Can I upgrade my old equipment?
What parts can I reuse in my new system? PC users can think about reusing modems, network cards, scanners, printers and other peripherals.
Does the manufacturer use recyclable materials to manufacture its product?
Does the manufacturer have a take back program? If so, what are the restrictions?
Does my employer have a recycling program? Is there a cost to the consumer?
Is there a local collection service available?
Are there any schools, charity or non-profit organizations in the area to which I can donate the equipment?
What Happens to My Old Computer or Television?
Often, a charity or school will reuse your computer. Or, it may be taken apart and recycled. The different parts of the computer or television are used in many different ways:
Glass: The glass cathode ray tube (CRT) may be either returned to a manufacturer and made into a new CRT, or sent to a company where the lead is recovered and recycled.
Plastic: The plastic is ground into smaller pieces and recycled for use in various items.
Electronic Components: Circuit boards, chips, and other parts can be reused to repair or upgrade older electronics or be recycled for scrap value.
- Metal: Metal components are separated and sold for scrap value.
Helpful Links to Donate Your Electronic Equipment
A non-profit organization in Louisiana accepting e-waste for recycling is the Corporate Recycling Council (CRC) http://www.cacrc.com/
Charity America http://www.charityamerica.com/ unites donors and businesses with qualified charities from across the nation.
The National Christina Foundation http://www.cristina.org/dsf/ accepts donated computers to give to people with disabilities and students at risk.
The National Recycling Coalition http://www.nrcrecycles.org/ has an excellent Electronics Recycling Initiative.
Cellular phones and rechargeable batteries are easily recycled. To find the nearest drop-off retailer call 1-800-8-BATTERY or check out http://www.rbrc.com/.
The Apple Recycling Program http://www.apple.com/recycling accepts electronic equipment including iPhones, iPads, Macs, PC's and any manufacturer's mobile phones for reuse or recycling.
Helpful Reading Materials (require Adobe Reader software)
Note: The Department does not collect electronics for recycling. We will be happy to connect you with the nearest recycling opportunity.