It’s not just paper, glass, and metal that can be recycled. There are other items, too and a lot of people overlook electronics. I frequently find electronic items and small appliances chucked in the regular trash, but this isn’t the proper way to dispose of them. Modern electronics may contain harmful substances that can pose a threat to wildlife and the environment. In fact, most electronics or E-waste are classified as hazardous and should be disposed of properly. So what’s the right way to discard electronics and appliances?
Before you toss that old electronic item, the first thing you should do is try to repair it. If it’s something you’d keep if it worked properly, visit one of the many online sites that offer tutorials for fixing electronics such as ifixit or fix-it-club. Sometimes a simple repair is all that’s needed. If you can’t be bothered with fixing it, there’s probably somebody out there who can. Consider offering it up for free on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Oftentimes, there are people who are happy to take items off your hands which is so much better than contributing to the landfill.
Not all electronics are alike, but some should never go in the regular trash due to their heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, and lead include small kitchen appliances like coffee makers and microwaves, laboratory equipment, computer monitors, televisions, printers, scanners, copiers, circuit boards, cell phones, irons, hair dryers. etc. If you have no plans of keeping or repairing an item, you might consider its value as scrap. If you’re interested in the venture of making money of scrap metal, for instance, you could disassemble some of these electronics and bring in the metal for cash. Just make sure you’re following all safety guidelines and only bringing in metals that scrappers take. There are plenty of forums online about how to make money by recycling electronics.
If you’re not interested in repairing, donating, or scrapping your old electronics, the best option is to recycle them or bring them to an E-waste facility. There are plenty of companies that benefit from these discarded electronics and know how to properly handle and process them. I found one in my community called Complete Electronics Recycling and they offer a lot of guidelines for people wanting to know more about recycling electronics. What’s great about companies like this is that they also secure and destroy sensitive data and documents. Items they accept for free include computing equipment, batteries, audio and video accessories, phones, tablets, routers, small appliances, small machines, and tools. Items that require a fee to process include televisions, monitors, fluorescent bulbs, alkaline batteries, and appliances with Freon. Look up electronic recycling companies in your area to know what they can and cannot take.
Can electronics be safely disassembled and upcycled? I’d like to explore the option of using some of my old electronics, TVs, phones, etc. for interesting projects, but I don’t want to expose myself to harmful chemicals or do anything dangerous. There are definitely some dangers involved with taking apart appliances, but it depends largely on the device you’re taking apart. Make sure you follow safety guidelines thoroughly and read up on the appliance you’re taking apart. I’m going to start some projects soon, so wish me luck!