Note: This post was written by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.
This week’s topic for discussion is about the health impacts of electronic components/waste. I have decided to approach this topic in a roundabout way. Stay tuned for a comprehensive summary of articles that discuss the affects of lead and mercury when they are exposed through open burnings of electronic parts. But this week I would like to highlight websites that offer information to consumers about how to donate or responsibly recycle old electronics from the beginning.
Probably one of the most comprehensive websites about finding recyclers is the EPA’s page entitled, “Where can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products?” This provides an extensive list of recyclers and recycling programs by manufacturers.
The “e-Steward” program is a voluntary certification program that recyclers can apply for. If you donate your computer to a recycler that is e-Steward certified, you are guaranteed responsible recycling. One way the e-Steward program ensures this is by promising that your electronics will not be exported because exportation of waste can often result in the waste being handled or recycled in ways that are detrimental to the environment and human health. A complete list of e-Stewards can be found on the Electronics TakeBack Coalition website or at http://www.e-stewards.org/local_estewards.html
Another site offering information on where to give your old electronics is the PCMAG.com Electronics Recycling Superguide. This offers a list of manufacturer recycling programs, as well as explanations and benefits of those programs. (Note the manufacturer list begins here; use the links on the left side of the online article to access various portions of the alphabetical manufacturer list.)
Some programs are easier to use than others. In Illinois, for example, Panasonic’s collection program offers a large number of collection centers and will take back any type of brand.
Editor of Dealnews.com, Louis Ramirez, suggests the HP and Gateway programs are two of the best manufacturing trade-in programs for consumers because they tend to offer the most money back.
The PCMAG article also offers a list of retailers that offer take-bake programs.
Finally, PCMAG.com includes a list of web-sites that offer cash for your electronics. Gazelle, for instance, offers free shipping of your item and will pay you $115 for your electronics on average.
I have also found databases that include recyclers which are not on the websites listed above. These databases are:
(Please note that this post is intended for information purposes only and is not meant to be construed as an endorsement of any electronic recycling website or any affiliated organization.)
I would like to invite readers to submit information on any recycling/donation resource not covered in this post in the “Comments” section below.