Electronic waste or e-waste refers to what happens to our electronics when we throw them away. And we throw away a lot – up to 50 million metric tons a year worldwide, and growing. There are some huge problems with this, too: Many electronic devices have toxic materials that don’t belong in landfills without risking poisoning nearby soil and groundwater. Those that are “recycled” are too often sent overseas to be burnt or melted into scrap, releasing all those toxins into the environment and causing even more problems worldwide.
So, what’s a responsible electronics owner to do? Your typical recycle bin isn’t set up for electronics. If you have hazardous materials (including devices with LCD screens, processors, lithium-ion batteries, and more), continue reading for the best current ways to deal with them.
Note: ALWAYS check your local city disposal and landfill guidelines for more information on how to dispose of certain things. They will typically have clear rules for what kinds of electronics may be allowed, what you should do with them, and what special rules, fees, or steps may apply to certain kinds of electronics. These guidelines are designed to help people make good disposal decisions and are a great resource.