With rapidly changing technologies and constant consumer demand for the latest
devices, the rise in electronic waste, or e-waste, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
In fact, according to the United Nations, global e-waste volumes grew by 21% between 2014 and 2019, a pace that will lead to a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years. In 2019 alone, the world discarded 53.6 million tons of e-waste.
What Is E-Waste?
E-waste is discarded electronic devices that are no longer wanted, not functional or obsolete. Examples of e-waste include, but are not limited to:
Why It’s Important to Dispose of E-Waste Properly?
Many electronic devices contain hazardous chemicals, such as beryllium, lead and mercury. If these devices are not disposed of safely, those chemicals can pose a safety hazard to people, animals and the environment. In addition to contaminating soil, hazardous wastes can pollute the air and leach into water sources.
E-Waste Disposal Options
1. Sell Your Old Electronics
If your devices still work, consider selling them instead of throwing them away. Sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and eBay let you list your items for others to bid on, so you can easily get rid of items without sending them to a landfill.
Electronics in working condition that aren’t significantly outdated can make a difference for someone in need. Contact your local charity, homeless shelter or other nonproft organization to see if they are accepting donations. Otherwise, consider these national donation centers:
Goodwill: With more than 3,200 thrift stores around the country, Goodwill Industries is one of the most popular places to donate used goods to. Used electronics, including computers, are no exception. Goodwill sells your donations in its brick-and-mortar thrift stores and on its online auction site, shopgoodwill.com.
Computers with Causes: In addition to desktop and laptop computers, nonprofit organization Computers with Causes also accepts miscellaneous electronic gadgets, including tablets, printers, cameras, game consoles, servers, drones, robots and machinery. It also takes nonworking computers.
Vietnam Veterans of America: Contact Vietnam Veterans of America to donate working televisions, excluding CRT, DLP and tube TVs. They also accept computers, DVD players, stereos and more. They will work with you to schedule pickup of your items.
3. Visit a Local E-Waste Collection Event
Electronics may be considered hazardous waste in your city or state because they contain materials like mercury. As a result, many cities offer special e-waste collection days throughout the year to help residents get rid of old electronics responsibly. Call or visit the website of your local government to find where to drop off electronics at upcoming collection events. When doing so, keep the following questions in mind:
Are there fees involved?
Is an appointment required?
Is there a limit to how much you can drop off?
4. Curbside Collection
If your city offers bulk item pickup, electronics may be something you can toss curbside. However, keep in mind that each city has its own rules and regulations when it comes to what items are accepted. Before throwing your e-waste on the curb, call or visit the website of your local government to make sure they’ll accept your old electronics.
5. Rent a Dumpster
Planning a home cleanout or junk removal project that includes electronics? A roll-off dumpster rental in Indianapolis may be the most convenient disposal option for you. However, some cities and states have restrictions or extra fees for sending e-waste to landfills.