Electronic Waste Recycling
Electronic waste (or e-waste) is electronic equipment that is no longer working or no longer needed, and includes: televisions, monitors, computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, stereo equipment, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras, telephones, cell phones, copy machines, video game consoles, and other items with circuit boards in them.
E-waste does not include toasters, blenders or other small appliances (as these items do not include circuit boards), but these don't belong in the landfills either. Small appliances contain significant amounts of metal are can be recycled at scrap metal facilities (you may even receive a little money for recycling them). Visit the City's Recycling Directory for more information about local scrap metal recycling options.
What Do You Do With Your E-waste?
Take it back. Many companies have programs that will accept your end-of-life equipment. If you have a Dell, HP, Apple, Gateway or Toshiba system, contact their customer service line or website to find out more. Systems and parts are reused or recycled to keep the products out of the waste stream.
Donate it. Donate gently used equipment to non-profits that accept equipment for their own use or pass it on to their clients and customers. Before donating equipment, be sure to wipe personal information from your hard drive or cell phone to ensure your privacy.
Recycle it. Contact a local electronics recycler. We are lucky to have quite a few local providers of e-waste recycling. Because of the complex process of recycling e-waste, expect to pay a small fee to recycle most electronics. Visit the City's Recycling Directory for local electronics recycling options. Look for recyclers that are certified as E-Stewards or with the EPA's R2 Certification.
The City of Fort Collins is a city that cares for its community's public health and natural environment. In 2007, the City of Fort Collins passed an ordinance banning the landfill disposal of electronics. Click here to read the ordinance. In 2013, the State of Colorado also passed an electronics landfill disposal ban, so it is illegal to landfill electronics anywhere in Colorado.
Recycling Electronics is Important
Electronics include toxic components. These may include mercury, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants and more. It is important that these materials be kept from the landfill to protect our drinking water and air. Electronics also contain valuable materials, including gold and other metals, which are important to recover.
Protect human rights. Not only is it important to recycle your electronics, but it's important to use a recycler that is certified to recycle responsibly. Irresponsible recycling has led to significant health and human rights issues in Asia and Africa. For more information about responsible electronics recycler certifications and the human impacts of recycling electronics, visit the Basel Action Network (which provides the e-Stewards certification) or the EPA (which created the R2 certification).