Electronic Waste Information

What is electronic waste?

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is any electronic device that is broken, obsolete, or otherwise unwanted. This includes but is not limited to computers, monitors, cell phones, TVs, VCRs, CD and MP3 players, even those singing birthday cards contain a small amount of e-waste.

Why should I care about electronic waste?

Most electronic equipment contains hazardous materials that are considered toxic and carcinogenic, such as lead found in solder, or mercury, PCBs, and chromium found in older CRT monitors. These toxic materials can end up in our landfills and potentially in our drinking water if improperly disposed of.

Electronic waste also contains precious metals such as gold, copper, tin, and aluminum that if recycled, can be a valuable secondary source of raw materials.

What can I do with my electronic waste?

There are many options when it comes to proper disposal of electronic waste. If possible, reuse is an efficient way to recycle your device. Consider donating it to friends, family, charity, or other community organization that would make use of it. If the device is no longer functional, recycling is the best disposal option as it would help avoid contributing to our landfills. Responsible disposal of electronic waste is everyone's concern.

Where can I find someone who will take my electronic waste?

You are here! Go to our home page and search or browse our listings of electronic waste recyclers. We also have local listings of government sponsored events and drop off locations.

I am an electronic waste recycler and I want my business listed in this directory. How do I sign up?

If your business is not already listed, you can register here, which will allow you to create a profile with your business information. Your business will be added to the directory after being reviewed by the site administrator.

I am an ewaste recycler and my business is listed here, but some of the information is wrong. How do I change it?

Updating your business information depends on whether you signed up and entered the information yourself, or if we found your business listing and included you in our directory. If you signed up then go here to log into your account. If you did not sign up with an account, please contact the site administrator for assistance.

I am a government organization. How do I get my event listed?

If you have not yet signed up your organization, sign up here to register your organization and add an event. If you have already signed up, please log in to access your information and add an event. Details of your event will then be listed in our announcements.

I live in California. What is the electronic waste recycling fee?

This is a fee that is collected on video displays (TVs, monitors, laptops) based on their size. As of January 2013 the fee is:

  • 4" and up to 15" = $3.00
  • 15" and up to 35" = $4.00
  • 35" and over = $5.00

This fee is paid into a pool of money that the state of California uses to ease or eliminate the costs associated with recycling of monitors.

How are computers and related parts recycled?

Computer recycling generates a large amount of reusable components. The CRT glass is sent to a lead smelter to recover the lead or to a CRT glass manufacturer where the glass is used to produce new CRT glass. The electronic components in the CPU are removed and sold as parts to various manufacturers or recyclers around the country. These parts include the main board, memory, hard drives, battery, power supply, CPU, and various video and sound cards. Plastics are separated by type and usually shredded for recycling. Metal components are separated by type as well and sent to scrap metal recyclers.

If I'm not sure whether my item qualifies as electronic waste, how can I found out?

If you have an item which you believe could be considered electronic waste, please contact your closest e-waste recycler and ask if they will accept the item.

What are electronic device manufacturers doing to help reduce e-waste?

Quite a few manufacturers are offering "take back" programs in which they take back their brand devices and recycle them for free. Here are a few that have implemented this program:

What is California doing about e-waste?

California has implemented landmark legislation. Key elements of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 include:

  • Reduction in hazardous substances used in certain electronic products sold in California.
  • Collection of an electronic waste recycling fee at the point of sale of certain products.
  • Distribution of recovery and recycling payments to qualified entities covering the cost of electronic waste collection and recycling.
  • Directive to establish environmentally preferred purchasing criteria for state agency purchases of certain electronic equipment.

You should start by checking with your local school or church. You may want to also check the following resources:

  • TechSoup - IT resources for non profit organizations
  • FreeGeek - Excellent community organization in Portland that reuses and recycles computer equipment.
  • Freegeek Wiki - Check if there is a Free Geek chapter in your area.