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Recycling & Reusing

Electronics: Recycling & Donating

The latest and greatest electronic devices seem to be unveiled faster and faster these days, making our old devices obsolete. Recycling electronics is important because these devices contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium. So, think before you toss.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Electronics may contain hazardous waste that can pollute the environment and cause health problems.
  • A reputable recycler does not ship electronics to developing countries for processing where men, women and children work under hazardous conditions and toxins are improperly disposed of into the environment.
  • The EPA recognizes the e-Stewards® Recycler certification program and the Responsible Recycling Practices for Electronics Recyclers (R2) certification program for their advancement of environmentally-safe practices and standards. You can locate facilities that have earned the e-Stewards® Recycler certification by visiting e-stewards.org to ensure that electronics will not be sent to other countries improperly for processing.
  • Electronics can have value even if they’re broken. The metal, plastic and glass that is extracted can be sold and reused again. Properly recycled electronic parts can be used in many new products including car parts and furniture.
  • You should always remove all personal information from your device before donating or recycling it.

GOOD TO DO

Keep electronics out of the trash!

Donate

  • National Cristina Foundation: If your computer still works and is less than five years old, visit The National Cristina Foundation (NCF) website, a non-profit that works with companies and individuals to donate computers and other technology to charities, schools and other public agencies.
  • Contact local charity thrift stores such as Goodwill or Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to see what items can be accepted for donation.

Recycle

  • City/County Programs: If your electronics are old and broken, you can take them to a local drop-off site or e-cycling event.
  • Earth911: Use the recycling locator tool at Earth911.com to find an e-recycling program including mail-in programs that offer cash for used electronics.
  • Goodwill: Dell Computers has partnered with Goodwill through the Dell Reconnect program to recycle residential computers. Residents can bring in any brand of computer equipment in any condition and recycle it for free. TVs are not accepted. Use the Find a Location feature at www.dellconnect.com to see if a Goodwill store near you participates in the program. The proceeds from your donation are all returned to Goodwill, and you get a receipt for tax purposes. Find the location nearest you!
  • VersAbility Resources: Through VersAbility’s e-Recycling program, individuals with disabilities earn wages by disassembling computers and keeping tons of waste and harmful materials out of local landfills. You can recycle your old computer by dropping it off at VersAbility’s sites in Hampton or Gloucester, or VersAbility can come to your business to pick-up large quantities (pick-up fees do apply). Due to the expense of recycling, there may be fees for monitors and televisions based on screen size. For more information, email recycling@versability.org.
  • Check with the manufacturer of your device: Nearly every electronics manufacturer provides a way for the consumer to return their products.
  • Best Buy: Best Buy stores accept a variety of electronics including TVs, computers, cell phones and most home electronics. Contact your local Best Buy store for drop off instructions and any restrictions on accepted items. Fees may apply.
  • For additional information on e-Waste vendors and non-profits doing work in Virginia, visit the Department of Environmental Quality’s comprehensive list of e-cycling vendors.
  • Protect Yourself: Always remove all personal information from your computer before donating or recycling. The Microsoft Windows XP installation CD, Microsoft Windows Vista installation DVD, and the Apple OS-X Installation DVD contain disk management tools that can be used to overwrite the data on drive. In addition, the following software programs can also be used to overwrite information stored on the hard drive:

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