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As E-waste Grows in Volume, Solutions Abound

E-waste is defined as any sort of electronic waste. This includes computer monitors, computer casing, cell phones, printers, fax machines, televisions, DVD players and anything else that has a cord or charger. Most of these machines contain harmful levels of Mercury, Lead, Lithium, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and other known toxins that can cause everything from birth defects to cancer. Obviously, the more we can do to keep these chemicals out of landfills and therefore out of our water systems, the safer we will be. Companies and organizations are starting to offer more and more realistic ways to recycle these items.

Best Buy offers free in store recycling for small electronics and a $10 recycling program for larger items like computer monitors and television sets; a $10 gift certificate is immediately returned in exchange. Target also offers in store recycling for small items like cell phones and batteries. Dell recently partnered with Goodwill in their RECONNECT project, dedicated to recover, reuse and recycle unwanted electronics through free drop sites.


Most cell phone providers offer drop off options, rebates or free mail in services. Check with your manufacturer to see what is available to you. AT&T, Dell, HP, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Sony and Sprint all have recycling programs; a detailed list is available on the EPA’s website.

Additionally, many new non-profit organizations offer environmentally friendly breakdown and refurbishing for electronics to be used in developing countries and in underprivileged neighborhoods. So however you choose to recycle your electronics, please do so responsibly. Most organizations websites have zip code locators or free postage offerings for added convenience. With approximately 400 million units of waste going into landfills every year and updated hardware constantly debuting, we must do what we can to stem the flow of toxic chemicals into our landfills.


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