Electronic Waste

White Line Waste
Electronic waste (e-waste) is certainly all over the world today. With new technology coming out constantly, outdated electronics probably clutter your home or office. It can be hard to know what to do with them once you upgrade. Let’s not forget about all the batteries that people change in their lifetime; those are also classified as e-waste. In this post, we hope to clarify the proper way to dispose of your outdated TV, cell phone or computer while considering the environmental impacts of disposal.

Electronic Waste

The nitty gritty of how to dispose of your electronics can be oddly specific, so here’s the basic breakdown:

TV’s, Computers, Cell phones

  • Your local HHW Facility will usually take these things for free.
  • Electronics recycling companies may accept items from the public for a small fee.
  • You can also find online companies that accept a range of electronics for recycling; some companies even offer to pay for certain things such as cell phones and tablets that no longer work or are outdated.
  • Cell phone repair shops often accept recently outdated cell phones and tablets.
  • Check with your local solid waste district or city hall for other collection sites near you.
Most noteworthy, do not put your electronics in landfills and incinerators because they contain mercury, lead, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and byproducts called dioxins. When allowed to pile up in landfills these toxins can potentially leach into the soil and contaminate groundwater.

Batteries

Electronic White Line WasteFirst of all, not all batteries are equal!

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Old lithium-ion batteries are found in mobile devices and power tools and are accepted at HHW Facilities or other battery recyclers The disposal process crushes or punctures almost all trash in the waste stream. Lithium-ion batters tend to combust, causing millions of dollars in damage to waste facilities. Therefore, these batteries must be handled carefully. 

Household Batteries

Even small household batteries contain toxins and heavy metals. Eventually they will deteriorate and these chemicals may leak into the ground, which can contaminate soil and water and lead to environmental degradation. Check with your local electronics store to see if they accept household batteries for recycling.

Automotive Batteries

Lead-acid batteries contain lead and sulfuric acid (or other heavy metals depending on the type of battery). Lead is highly toxic, while sulfuric acid is highly corrosive. The best way to dispose of automotive batteries is to take it to a retail establishment that specializes in selling lead-acid batteries. In most cases, you can exchange your old battery for a new one at a discount off the retail price.