Done with that old cell phone, TV or CRT computer monitor? Don't dump it in the garbage. Some items can be recycled. But the chemicals they use mean none should be tossed in the landfill. Learn how to dispose of your old technology properly.
Most electronics and household hazardous waste cannot be dumped into the dumpster. Here are a few examples:
- Cell phones.
- Hazardous waste like: cans of paint, batteries, rolls of carpet, medical waste, compact fluorescent bulbs…
- Expired medications.
If you find yourself in possession of the hazardous items listed above, they will need special handling. Many states have regulations that won’t allow these materials to be placed in the landfill. So take the extra steps required to dispose of them properly.
For TV & Computer :
- Earth 911 www.earth911.org is an excellent national resource for recycling TV’s or computers as well as a wide range of other items. Simply enter your zip code and the item you want to recycle.
- Computer Renaissance www.computerrenaissance.com has a buy/sell or trade policy for computers.
- National Cristina Foundation www.cristina.org accepts computer donations in all 50 states. It then matches the donation to area schools or non-profits. The goal is to help people with disabilities, youth at risk and the economically disadvantaged.
For Computer cartridges:
- The post office sponsors an easy-to-use system. They offer free plastic envelopes that are preaddressed with prepaid postage. Just slip the cartridge in the bag and drop it in the mailbox.
- Office Max will exchange one ream of recycled paper for each Dell, HP or Lexmark cartridge you bring in.
- Office Depot will take Konica Minolta toner cartridges and give a $3. store credit to anyone with a service contract.
- Refill your cartridges up to four times (unless the warranty advises against it .) Staples and Dell are two companies that will refill them. It saves up to 90% of the cost of new.
For Cell phones:
- Deactivate your phone service and erase any personal information then donate your phone, battery and charger to:
- Call to Protect www.wirelessfoundation.org it’s a non-profit organization which refurbishes phones and donates them to survivors of domestic violence. The refurbished phones can only call 911 or domestic violence shelters.
- Best Buy www.bestbuy.com provides drop boxes for e-waste in their entryways. They also take inkjet cartridges & rechargeable batteries.
- The Call2Recycle program www.call2recycle.org provides lists of drop off locations. Here are a few: Office Depot, Radio Shack and Target.
- Some manufacturers take back used phones. Here are three that do: Kyocera, Motorola & Nokia.
- Check with Earth 911 or Call2Recycle for drop-off options in your area.
- Rechargeable batteries are collected by the following companies, in participating stores: Batteries Plus, Best Buy, Home Depot and Target.
Paint, pesticide, insecticides, weed killer, fluorescent bulbs and other hazardous waste are not collected by the garbage man. Check www.earth911.com to find out how to recycle in your area. Look for information directing you to the nearest drop-off Hazardous Waste Facility. Or learn about any up-coming collection days in your area, when waste is picked up at the curb.
- Paint cans may be discarded in the garbage if the container is empty or the paint is dried solid.
- Used oil can be returned to local garages.
- Used carpet may be recycled as part of a Manufacturer-Sponsored Program. Ask about it when you are purchasing new carpet.
Resist the urge to flush meds down the toilet or rinse them down the drain because the drugs will go directly into the water system. There is growing concern about the effect of man-made chemicals and hormones in our streams and rivers. So before you flush:
- Check with your pharmacy. Some are starting to offer drug recycling programs. They collect the prescription drugs and send them to the manufacturer for proper disposal. (The drugs are incinerated.)
- Check with your local Hazardous Waste facility. I looked it up at earth911 www.earth911.com and found two hazardous waste facilities in my area.
- Donate drugs. In Wisconsin they have a drug repository program for cancer drugs. http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/bqaconsumer/cdrqas.htm
- Or donate expired meds to third world countries.
Sharps and lancets should be collected and taken to a Hazardous Waste facility. Try storing them in a used liquid laundry container. It is a heavy plastic and has a tight-fitting lid.