Most consumers are aware of the problems facing our environment today such as overflowing landfills and the need to prevent toxic chemicals from leaching into our soil; many are interested to know where they might find free electronics recycling facilities.
This is a huge issue in our society. Electronics, such as televisions, VCRs, cell phones, computers, etc. become obsolete so quickly that stacks of used equipment are building up in homes and businesses. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 180 million of such outdated devices are being stored until they can be properly disposed of.
Fortunately, there are approved free electronics recycling facilities which are able to take these devices and recover much of the materials used in their production, such as aluminum, plastic, copper, and gold. The process is not an easy one. Care must be taken during their disassembly to avoid releasing toxic fumes and creating an even greater hazard to workers and the environment.
Unfortunately, there are few such free electronics recycling facilities available to the average consumer or business.
Options for Free Electronics Recycling
Many corporations which produce electronics equipment offer programs to take back used and outdated items. Some offer trade-in programs, such as Gateway, Dell, and Staples. With the purchase of new equipment, consumers can turn in their old devices and in some cases, receive a discount. Still other companies allow old electronics to be mailed to a recycling facility, however with large items the shipping cost becomes prohibitive.
Another option is to wait until your local community holds a drive to collect used electronics equipment or to donate your items to a charity which will sell the devices to a recycling facility in the hopes of raising money. Some schools frequently use this as a fundraising activity.
While this is a step in the right direction, as a solution to the problem of disposing of millions of pieces of electronics equipment, it is only a drop in the bucket. When consumers face a fee or shipping costs to recycle their equipment, they tend not to do so. Some companies, like Sony, will only accept used items which they manufactured and place a daily limit on the number of such devices which can be returned. As well, in relation to the amount of electronics equipment which is estimated to need recycling, the number of facilities available is sadly lacking.
Clearly there is a need to provide additional resources for free electronics recycling. There is a large void between demand and supply of facilities which are approved to perform electronics gathering, transportation, and recycling processes.