Let me stop you before you toss that old television set or even a pair of used batteries into the trashcan. So-called “e-waste” is a serious problem, and it’s important that you recycle your electronics rather than sending them to the landfill.

Many people would love to recycle their old stuff, but many wonder where to recycle electronics. Trust me when I tell you: It’s not that hard, and you can most likely recycle electronics without much extra effort.

Here’s a look at why it’s so important to recycle your old electronics, as well as where to recycle electronics in your neck of the woods.


Why Recycle Electronics?

Why recycle your electronics? There are 2 main reasons.

First, electronics contain a lot of chemicals and hazardous materials that are terrible for the environment. The chemicals can easily find their way into our water supply, which I’m sure we’d all like to avoid. In fact computers and other e-waste or so bad for the environment that it’s even illegal to trash electronics in some states.

And, second, the materials used to make electronics are often scarce and environmentally intensive to mine. When you recycle your electronics, the small pieces and materials can be refurbished and used again, which prevents the further environmentally intensive mining to secure these materials.

OK, so I said 2 reasons to recycle your electronics, but here’s just one more: It keeps your information much safer. Choose a certified e-cycler, and the personal information remaining on your laptop, phone or other devices will be removed and disposed of properly. Send your device to a landfill, and how knows?

So, without further adieu, here’s a look at 3 places where you can recycle electronics and other e-waste.


1. Search Local

Start with a simple Google search. Type in “recycle electronics in [insert your city name].” What will pop up are several options as you look for a convenient spot where you can safely recycle electronics.

My local library even accepts electronics for recycling, batteries included. Cities large and small have set up repositories for used electronics because they know just how damaging they can be to the environment if they end up in a landfill.


2. Donate

Here’s an idea: Just donate your electronics to Goodwill, Salvation Army or another charity in your area. These nonprofits are often looking for electronics that can be refurbished and sold at a discount to those in need.

Yes, I know that you’re getting rid of your electronics for a reason. Maybe your laptop has slowed down and doesn’t stream video the way you like. But that laptop may help put someone to work, or it may find use in an educational setting. Just because you’re getting rid of something doesn’t mean it’s unusable — it may be a dream come true for someone else.


3. Big Box Stores

Everyone’s getting into the mix when it comes to e-waste recycling, and that includes some of the big electronics stores. You can recycle almost anything under the sun at Best Buy and Staples, and I’m sure there’s one or the other in your area.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s website even keeps a handy list of brands that accept e-waste, as well as what types of electronics and devices they accept. It shouldn’t be too hard to swing by the local strip mall and drop off your old TV or desktop rather than letting it fall into a landfill.


Final Thoughts on Where to Recycle Electronics

Let me make one final plea to recycle your e-waste. This time I’ll use compelling stats (courtesy of Earth911.com):

  • 9.4 million: The amount of electronics (in tons) that Americans throw away each year.
  • 12.5%: The amount of e-waste that is recycled rather than thrown away.
  • 35,274: The amount of copper (in pounds) reclaimed for every 1 million cell phones recycled.
  • 772: The amount of silver (in pounds) reclaimed for every 1 million cell phones recycled.
  • 75: The amount of gold (in pounds) reclaimed for every 1 million cell phones recycled.
  • 33: The amount of palladium (in pounds) reclaimed for every 1 million cell phones recycled.

And I’ll leave you with this last stat: Recycling 1 million laptops would save enough energy to power 3,657 American homes in a year. Let that sink in. Recycling your electronics is better for our communities and much better for the environment. Use the tips above to find an electronics recycling spot near you.

Do you have other ideas for recycling electronics? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or just send a message using our contact form.