Electronics that are obsolete, broken, and destined for recycling or disposal are sometimes called "e-waste." There are many chemical and mineral elements in e-waste. A circuit board contains copper, gold, silver, platinum and palladium, as well as lead. If recycled properly, this waste is a valuable source of secondary raw materials. 


Environmental Stewardship

Waste Management is committed to providing environmentally responsible solutions for handling electronics waste.

Waste Management is committed to:

This is but a continuation of the E-Steward's Pledge, which we continue to operate by today. By announcing that pledge, Waste Management committed to a set of accepted practices that helps protect the environment, as well as workers' health and safety, during the handling of e-waste. This also gives the ability to third parties to monitor our activity, offering greater transparency in the fast-growing electronics recycling sector.


Computers (CPUs, monitors, peripherals, keyboards)

Every day in the United States, we throw out about 130,000 computers. What can you do when you no longer need yours?

Computers should never be dumped into a landfill. They are a valuable resource.

Computers contain a variety of recyclable material, including plastic, metal, and glass. In fact, nearly 100% of a computer is capable of being recycled.

When recycling electronics, make sure you're working with a reputable recycler such as Waste Management, who operates with integrity and transparency. Ask questions: What do you do with the equipment? Where do you send parts to be recovered? Where are the CRTs, metals, and plastics sent? Who handles the data destruction? Is the hard drive wiped clean of information? Is documentation of this provided? Can you give me information so I can delete all data and personal information myself?

Peripherals can also be recycled. These include keyboards, cables, mice, computer speakers, printers, scanners, floppy drives, optical media and external hard drives.

Certain retailers and manufacturers offer electronics recycling programs. Click Here for more info.


Office Equipment (photocopiers, printers, fax machines)

Upgrading your office? Be sure to recycle your obsolete equipment.

By donating or recycling these products, Americans can lessen pollution, save resources, and reduce the energy needed to manufacture new products.

Printers have become so inexpensive that many people think of them as disposable. However, recyclers can dismantle the old equipment to reclaim the base materials which, in turn, become the raw material needed to produce new products.

Printer cartridges do not belong in landfills. Certain kinds of toner dust contain hazardous materials, as do inks used in inkjet printers.


Televisions

As you make the transition to digital television, what should you do with your old analog TV?

Most TVs work with either a digital or analog signal. If you do not have cable or satellite service, you will need a converter box that you can purchase at most electronics stores to receive the digital signal.

Many municipalities do not allow TV sets to be discarded into landfills. Older television sets contain up to eight pounds each of lead. Lead was originally used to protect viewers from radiation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 82 percent of televisions (20.6 million units) were disposed of between 2006 and 2007 - and that occurred primarily in landfills. This means only 18%, or about 6.3 million sets, were recycled.

Certain retailers and manufacturers, including LG and Sony, offer TV recycling programs. Click Here for more info.

The Electronic Industries Alliance provides a list of non-profit organizations that accept used, working TVs.

Check with your local municipality to see if there are special disposal days or drop-off locations for used electronics.


Consumer Electronics (VCRs, stereos, home/office phones)

Is your VCR collecting dust in the closet? Is there a second life for that old stereo?

Broken or obsolete equipment can be disassembled and the scrap value of various components reclaimed.

Printed circuit boards and wiring may contain recoverable quantities of precious metals and base metals.

Frames and cases may contain recyclable steel or plastic.

MP3 players contain toxic substances, such as lead, cadmium and mercury.

Most materials in DVD players - from the circuit boards to the plastics - can be recycled to make new components.

The consumer electronics category also includes audio equipment, calculators, recording devices, and digital clocks. States may define consumer electronics differently, so check with your state for specific information.

If you can't find a place that will refurbish your product for reuse, check with your local municipality to find out e-waste pick-up days or drop-off locations.


Cell phones

Every year, Americans buy more than 100 million cell phones, yet fewer than 20% of old cell phones are recycled.

Discarded phones represent about 65,000 tons of electronic garbage every year. Simply by recycling the phones, customers could save enough energy to power more than 194,000 homes for an entire year.

Cell phones are made from copper, other valuable metals, and plastics - all of which require energy to extract and manufacture. Recycling cell phones helps recover these valuable resources and saves energy.

Recycling just a million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 1,368 cars off the road for a full year.

Contact your local municipality to find out about e-waste collection days and drop-off locations.


Unacceptable E-Waste

The following items are not commonly recycled through e-waste recycling programs. They are usually recycled through other programs. Contact your local municipality to find out how to properly dispose of them: