There is hardly any place on planet earth where people don’t rely on electronic devices. Even in third-world countries like the Philippines, there are over 300,000,000 mobile devices for a population of 105,000,000 people. While there are benefits to ever-changing technologies, there are also things that create problems.
One of the world’s biggest issues related to an over-reliance on electronic devices has to do with the concept of E-waste. In a world that is trying to implement green initiatives to save the planet, the pollution caused by E-waste has created significant issues.
Do you have old, broken, worthless electronics lying around your home or office? If so, you’ve probably been wondering about how electronics disposal works. Can you just toss the old devices into the trash? Drop them off in front of a charitable donation pick-up box? How about recycling them in some way?
The questions of electronics removal and disposal are important ones because so many products contain substances and components that can do serious harm to the environment or to someone who picks them up out of the trash. In almost every situation, calling a professional e-waste pickup service is the way to go.
But first, it’s imperative to know what “e-waste” is, how and where to dispose of it, and how to recycle it whenever possible. Of course, there are a few things you should never do with e-waste, so it’s good to know about those guidelines as well.
Homeowners, consumers, and business owners who need help with electronics disposal need to know the basics about this important topic. The perfect place to begin is with a definition.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste or electronic waste is a term used to describe discarded electronic devices like mobile phones, computers, laptops, hard drives, microwave overs, DVD players, printers, and even lamps. When discarded improperly, there are components/parts in these kinds of electronic devices that emit toxins into the environment. As the E-waste problem grows, particularly in the U.S., it is putting a lot of extra stress on the environment, which is not good for humanity.
Our Clutter Trucker teams get this question all the time because many consumers call us for e-waste pickup but aren’t always sure what the category includes. Of course, the “e” stands for “electronic” or “electronics.” The “waste” part is what’s tricky.
In short, the term refers to any broken, non-functioning, unwanted, or obsolete electrical appliance or device of any size, shape, or weight. That includes a lot of things, but for most homeowners and business owners, it means some or all of the following:
- Old telephones and telephone equipment
- Broken TVs
- Electric cookers
- Portable heaters
- Microwave ovens
- Blu Ray players
- Circuit boards
- Video game systems
- Massage chairs
- Imaging equipment
- Power strips
- Heating pads
- Network hardware
- Tablet computers
- Smart watches
- So-called “white goods” like washers, dryers, and refrigerators
- Stereo systems and home-entertainment systems
- Electric toys
- VCR’s that are broken or obsolete
- Monitors of all kinds
- Older or newer cell phones that don’t work or are permanently locked
- Music-playing devices of every kind
- Fax machines
- Digital cameras and most camera equipment
- Remote-control devices
- DVD players and peripherals
It’s important to remember that electronics disposal calls for special techniques. Some can be recycled in a particular way. Others might be candidates for refurbishing, salvage, or charitable donation.
The Right Way to Dispose of E-Waste
The main questions people ask about electronics removal might surprise you. Usually, they want to know if specific items need special handling or treatment before disposal, which e-waste disposal methods are the safest, whether local merchants can deal with electronics disposal for them, and more.
Here are the four most common things we hear from Clutter Trucker customers who call us about electronics disposal:
“How Should We Dispose of Old Electronics?”
Find a nearby e-recycling organization, donate them, take them to a retailer who agrees to accept them, sell them in a garage sale or online sale, call your local trash company and ask what to do with specific items that no one else will accept.
“Can Electronics Go In With My Regular Garbage?”
Never put e-waste in your household or office garbage. Check around by making some phone calls, as noted above, and keep in mind that electronics removal is not as simple or as safe as you think.
“Where Can We Dispose of Electrical Equipment?”
For safe, legal electronics disposal, you’ll have to do some research because so many items call for special handling. Others not so much. Never throw a piece of e-waste into the trash unless you have double-checked that it’s okay to do so. When in doubt, call a professional service that deals with electronics disposal and find out how to proceed.
“Do Stores Like Best Buy Accept Old Electronics?”
It depends on the store. Some will accept a few items as long as they don’t currently pose a chemical or shock hazard. You have to call each store and ask the manager, being careful to describe your items exactly.
What About Recycling of E-Waste?
The good news is that most e-waste can be recycled. The trick is how to do it and finding someone who is willing to take your stuff and recycle it for you. Call local recycling facilities and ask. Also, call the store where you purchased the item and see what their advice is. You can usually locate an e-waste recycling facility, but it might be so far away that you’ll end up without a way to recycle the item.
What is the process of electronics recycling?
Since the numbers are worsening, it’s time for everyone to start thinking about recycling their electronic devices as opposed to donating them or just discarding them out into the environment.
If you have electronic devices that have become outdated or outlived their usefulness, recycling is the option you need to be considering. You have two options. You can look for a recycling center on your own. If you wish to go this route, you might consider contacting the manufacturers of your devices. They might offer some compensation for recycling with them or could recommend recycling centers that will accept your devices.
The other option would be to call for an E-Waste pickup from a professional junk disposal company like Clutter Trucker. We have the expertise to handle your electronics disposal and get it to the proper recycling centers on your behalf.
Alert: What Not To Do
Depending on where you live, you could run into legal trouble if you dispose of e-waste the wrong way. For instance, never just throw it in the trash, at home, or in a local dumpster. If your e-waste causes a fire in a local trash bin, you could be held liable for the damage.
Never store e-waste in your home as an alternative to getting rid of it. Again, there’s a fire hazard and the very real possibility of chemical leakage that could ruin floors, walls, and carpets. Additionally, stored e-waste can pose a serious health threat to you, your family, and your pets.
How Big is the E-Waste Issue?
With each new generation of electronic device technology, the E-Waste issue seems to worsen How do we know? The data makes it very clear. Data accumulated in 2019 points clearly to the size of the problem.
It was reported that in 2019, 53.6 Mt (Million Metric Tonnes) of E-Waste was generated globally that year alone. Of that number more than 13.1 MT was generated in North America. Surprisingly, the biggest portion of that number came from household appliances and large equipment. That’s not to say that computers and mobile devices didn’t contribute significantly to the problem.
That same year, researchers discovered that only 20% of all electronic waste gets recycled. Therein lies the problem that needs to be addressed. To save the planet and ourselves, we have to do better at discarding electronics and recycling.