Many of us are veterans of recycling programs where we can sort our own recyclables into the right recycling bins to the praise of all of our neighbors. You may live in communities that offer a single stream program that doesnt require sorting. Regardless of which type of program is in effect in your town, some types of household items cannot be put out with other trash or recyclables — in particular, household electronics. Computers and stereo equipment require some special attention to when you’re ready to dispose of them.
Dont Put Electronics In Your Recycling Bins
Electronic home goods cannot be placed with regular trash or recyclables. Most of these goods contain heavy metals that are not allowed in landfills. Those old CRT monitors from computers and old TVs actually contain lead and mercury. They are perfectly safe to use, but when they break down in a landfill, those metals break down and infiltrate the water system. Even modern electronic appliances such as cell phones all have dangerous substances in them. To avoid causing harm to the environment and a potential fine, electronics need to stay out of your recycling bins and garbage cans.
Keep any type of electronics trash in a separate container or area where it will not get mixed in with other waste. Designate this area for all types of special materials that cannot go in the trash like empty containers of paints or chemicals, car or lawn mower batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, or any other hazardous material. Each type of waste will require special methods to properly dispose of.
Never Put Electronics Out For Your Waste Collectors
It might be tempting to put this type of waste into your regular recycling bins and let the waste collectors deal with it. However, waste collectors will not pick up any container if they see electronics or any other dangerous waste. In fact, some towns will levy fines against you if you even try this. There are alternatives to trying to sneak in some off-limits trash and hope the collectors don’t notice — there are a number of convenient ways to properly dispose of unwanted electric appliances and goods.
Your Local Recycling Center
Your towns waste management center should be capable of handling any residential waste you can bring them. They will have designated recycling bins for electronics or at least a separate area where they can be properly disposed of on site. There are also private companies that specialize in handling consumer electronics and they typically do not charge any fees.
Reuse Instead Of Recycle
Many times, we are getting rid of old equipment because we upgraded to the latest model. Any electronics that still work are worthwhile to reuse rather than dispose. Even broken equipment can be salvaged for spare parts, especially since manufacturers rarely sell parts. Try offering electronic waste for the cost of pickup and removal and someone will surely come by and take your old goods; post a note on a local message board or social network website. Consider donating to charity for a good feeling and a tax break.