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Computer / Electronics Recycling

Each year, 50 million computers and monitors and 130 million cell phones (along with TVs and other electronics, these items are regarded as "e-waste") are landfilled in the United States, waste that contains significant quantities of hazardous materials, such as lead and mercury. Because of the environmental hazards associated with these materials, businesses and households (learn more->>) are prohibited from disposing of electronics (including computers, televisions, cell phones, PDAs, etc.) in the trash to ensure toxic materials are kept out of our local landfills.

In Fort Collins there are many options for recycling household and commercial e-waste, including drop-off and pick-up services and special collection events held throughout the year.

You may also consider donating your computer equipment or cell phone to a non-profit organization that refurbishes these items for use in schools and social programs. Please use this opportunity respectfully to ensure responsible waste disposal is not simply passed on to those least likely to have access to recycling options.

IMPORTANT: Whether you recycle or donate your computer equipment, you should consider "wiping" your hard drive(s) to ensure all personal data cannot be recovered (remember, deleting your files is not enough!). For more information on personal computer data security, search on "wiping software" or visit the Dell website for useful summaries about personal data security and more information about wiping software (some of which is available at no cost, such as "DBAN").

Local E-Waste Recyclers for Households

Households should expect to pay a small fee (to cover handling and specialized recycling processes) to recycle certain types of e-waste including computer CPUs, monitors and TVs. Other items, may be accepted at no charge. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has compiled a list of questions that may be helpful to consider as you choose a recycling vendor.

Corporate Take-Back Programs

Many computer manufacturers and some retailers have created e-waste recycling programs and some will take back your old computer equipment for recycling when you purchase new equipment, often at no additional cost.

If your computer manufacturer is not listed here, contact them to find out more about their recycling and take-back policies.

Donating Computers and Cell Phones

Numerous organizations will accept donations of working computing equipment and cell phones. Donated and refurbished equipment is often distributed to disadvantaged communities, including schools and social programs.

  • CollectiveGood - Donate your mobile phone to your choice of several non-profits.
  • Community Computer Connection "C3" - C3 is sponsored by the Jared Polis Foundation and helps direct computers to underserved communities in Colorado.
  • Computers for Learning - This federally operated program is designed to donate surplus federal equipment to schools and educational non-profits.
  • The Education and Life Training Center (ELTC) - is a 501(c) 3 non-profit of adult education in computer, medical, GED, and literacy fields that accepts donated computers that they refurbish themselves and sell at reduced rate to low-income households in Fort Collins, CO.
  • National Cristina Foundation - This foundation works to give technology a second life by providing it to people with disabilities, at-risk students, and the economically disadvantaged.
  • Verizon Wireless Hopeline - Donations to the Hopeline project benefit victims of domestic violence.
  • Wireless... the New Recyclable - This website can help you locate a local donation center, or direct you to a mail-back program or online auction where you can sell your old mobile phone(s).

Electronics Exchanges

  • Colorado Materials Exchange (COMEx) - The Colorado Materials Exchange is sponsored by the University of Colorado Recycling Services as a statewide clearinghouse of non-hazardous surplus and durable goods.
  • Share the Technology - A national "materials exchange" for computer equipment designed to connect donors of used equipment with those seeking donations by geographic location.
  • TechSoup - "The technology place for non-profits." TechSoup has compiled comprehensive information promoting computer recycling and reuse. They provide resources for those who would like to donate hardware, those who would like to acquire recycled hardware, and refurbishers.
  • World Computer Exchange (WCE) - An international educational nonprofit focusing on helping the world's poorest youth to bridge the global divides in information and technology. Donate computers and give them new life connecting youth to the Internet in developing countries.

photo of electronic wasteCommercial E-Waste Recycling

Colorado law regards electronics as hazardous waste, thus businesses, schools and government entities are prohibited from landfilling (directly or through your trash service) electronic waste, including: color monitors and televisions, CPUs, keyboards, printers, VCRs and other end-of-life electronic equipment.

Local e-waste recycling options exist for your business, school or government agency:

Electronics and Energy Efficiency

Other Information about Electronics Recycling