According to a UN study, the United States had roughly 30 tons of electronic waste per capita in 2012 — the highest in the world. While that in itself is a huge issue, the even larger problem lies in how this waste is disposed of. Labels on electronics and appliances feature instructions for proper disposal, but rarely are they given any attention. Electronics are semi-toxic materials and should be regarded as such. Instead of tossing your old electronics and appliances on the curb alongside your regular trash, dispose of them properly at designated locations. What designates “proper,” is based on the type of electronic or appliance you are trying to break free from.
Photo by Patrick Berry
If you have a plastic microwave, not to worry. These can be disposed of as regular trash. If you have a metal microwave, however, you should take special precautions to make sure it goes to the right place. While some facilities allow you to recycle metal microwaves as scrap metal, others require dropping them off (or scheduling for pick-up) at an electronic waste center. Check your city regulations for more information.
Freezers and Refrigerators
Because of their bulky nature, you should not try to dispose of these yourself. Call an e-waste removal service and schedule a pick-up of your old appliance. As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency, pickups are typically free, though some services may charge a small fee of $10-$50, depending on the company and your location.
Washers and Dryers
If they are still in working condition, donating them to a shelter (or putting them on freecycle) may be a better option than simply recycling them. If they are no longer usable, be sure to ask the manufacturer of your new washer/dryer if they also handle the disposal of old ones. In the event that the manufacturer is not certified to dispose of your old appliance, find the location of the closest e-waste disposal site and schedule a drop-off or [...]