BTW, Don’t Forget To Recycle Your Old Electronics

No, this will not be a sarcastic enviro-weenie post. I’m actually dead serious in my belief about recycling old electronics, regardless of government mandates

Get a new flat-screen TV for Christmas and wondering what to do with the old console? Finally replacing that turntable with an MP3 player? Just upgrading your Mac? Whatever it is, you’d better check your state’s books before heading to the landfill.

As the new year begins, Vermont is joining New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina in instituting laws banning electronic waste from landfills, bringing to 24 the number of states with similar measures, according to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a San Francisco-based group that monitors the fate of “e-waste.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Kevin Wilkinson, a Montpelier resident and self-described “geek wannabe” with a lot of old computer hardware sitting around his house. “There’s a lot of heavy metals in the circuit boards and whatnot. It’s good to keep that stuff out of the landfills.”

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2007 that the U.S. generates about 2 million tons a year of e-waste, which can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. If those toxins leach from landfills into the environment, risks to human health can include cancer and nervous system damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I have no idea if North Carolina mandates this or not (though they do have an extensive list of electronics that can be dropped off, and, looking it up, apparently they and other materials are banned), because I would still take the old stuff to be recycled. Fortunately, the Wake County landfills have space where one can drop off old TVs, computers, and other electronics, as well as other materials. I’ve dropped several TVs and desktops there myself, as well as many other materials, though I could do a better job with some items, such as old DVDs and pesticide containers.

You can also drop off many electronics at stores such as Best Buy and other computer stores. Drop your old cell phones and batteries at the Wireless companies. I would be interested to know what the Wake County recycling center (and others) do with the dropped off electronics.

So, yeah, recycle. It’s not enviro-weenie to be responsible. It may be a pain to gather it all together and drive it out there, but, you can do your part to limit toxic materials from entering the environment.

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4 Responses to “BTW, Don’t Forget To Recycle Your Old Electronics”

  1. proof says:

    If you’re going to recycle your old computer, make sure you at least wipe, if not take a sledge hammer to your hard drive. You may have passwords, banking info…I keep my tax returns on my computer, so my SSN is in there, too!

  2. proof says:

    Same goes for old phones. I lot of people have their address book on their SIM card, but don’t realize that depending on how their phone is set up, there could be a duplicate in the phone’s internal memory. Plus any data you have stored in there.

    Wouldn’t want anyone to…wait for it…pirate your information!

  3. Now that was punny

    Best thing to do with a sim is crack it. That’s what we always did when I was with AT&T. But, yeah, too many people didn’t realize they often had data on it.

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