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When You Think About Recycling, Do You Include Your Electronics?

When You Think About Recycling, Do You Include Your Electronics?

Electronics Can Be Recycled Too!

Wait! Before you close the door on all the Spring cleaning you’re doing, be sure to include those no longer used electronics taking up space in your home. The old mobile phones, computers, TVs, telephones, printing equipment, and audio and video devices can all be recycled.

There are so many good reasons why you should think about recycling your home electronics too. As with other recyclable materials, recycling electronics saves energy, reduces pollution, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves resources by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth.

Also, many of these devices are made using metals, plastics and glass that can be recaptured to produce new products. This allows companies to reuse these items to make new salable ones. Apple company executives say last year alone they retrieved $40 million worth of gold after they recovered and reused materials from old devices.

Broken Electronics, a Billion-Dollar Industry

electRecycling electronics also benefits our economy by creating businesses and jobs that cater to the recycling process and industry. Globally, the recycling industry is worth $500 billion. In 2011 American firms exported so much recyclable wastes it translated to nearly $40 billion in American pockets.

Recycling electronics saves the environment from destruction of natural habitats, over-filling of landfills and pollution. When recycling is not a priority, trees used to make things are not replaced at a rate fast enough to benefit the environment anymore, or sometimes they’re not replaced at all. Marine life suffers incredibly when plastics from things like water bottles and cosmetic cases find their way into our lakes, rivers and oceans. When electronics are disposed of improperly, the chemicals lead, mercury and cadmium can leak into the soil, polluting it as well as the atmosphere.

Options for Disposing of Old Electronics

There are many options for finding places that will recycle your old electronics. Earth911.com is a United States-based online service that allows you to enter your zip code to find the nearest recycling center in your area. Often, companies that accept recyclable electronics will give you the option of dropping your items off at the facility or scheduling a pick-up for you.

Also, many cities across the globe have recycle days where residents can call local city offices to get all the information they need.

Before you decide to recycle, however, you might consider repairing your home electronics first. Not sure how? Search to see if you have a local Repair Café in your town or area.


Before 1973 there wasn’t a single recycling program in the United States. Now, there are over 8000 programs in place.

comment_2We’d love to hear from you about how long you’ve been recycling and why you got started. Tell us about it below.


Do you think it is important to recycle?

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Lisa Slock
Lisa Slock(@79etkpandagmail-com)
5 years ago

Is there an address to mail all recycled cell phones, etc ?

Fay Thomas
Fay Thomas(@fluffygrammahugs)
5 years ago

If anyone is from Canada and would like to know at least one contact to find out where you can recycle in Canada, you can try http://www.recyclemyelectronics.ca

5 years ago
Reply to  Fay Thomas

What a wonderful resource! Thanks for sharing, Fay!

Linda Watson
Linda Watson(@lapwatsongmail-com)
5 years ago
Reply to  Moderator

Our church is holding an electronic waste collection day through this organization, in conjunction with a spring fair, on earth day! Great fundraiser while promoting responsible disposal of electronics!

Jeannette Forget
Jeannette Forget(@jforget49)
5 years ago
Reply to  Fay Thomas

Thank you for sharing!

Anne Baudouin
Anne Baudouin(@nuttyoma)
5 years ago

In our area we have a drop off place for all electronics. Also the local Bureau en Gros (Staples) takes back old/broken electronics to recycle them. We have been using the service for several years. Seems “fixing” broken electronics is often not an option. ):

Trina Greer
Trina Greer(@tgreer)
5 years ago

We recycle everything we can! We also have started composting, but have a lot to learn.

Jessica Ferrell
Jessica Ferrell(@jdferrell47)
5 years ago

Some prisons have electronic recycling programs. We used to have one in Tucson, AZ.

Heather Wiese
Heather Wiese(@heather)
5 years ago

My granny lived with us when I was little and we’d go off to her farm and open up the house in the spring and summer. She had no electricity or running water, and she’d use everything that she had on hand over and over again. Jam pails were used for many, many things, as well as other things like glass containers. She canned and preserved food and composted for the garden. I loved her pioneering spirit and I recycle a lot of things, too. I galls me that appliances and modern conveniences, nor electronics are not made to last long, and the cost of fixing them is almost the same as replacing them with new. I think that this needs to be addressed in some way. It is still quite a throw-away world.

5 years ago
Reply to  Heather Wiese

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories of your Granny’s farm, Heather. It’s plain to see that her wise resourcefulness has created a legacy that lives on in your own life. Kudos to you for realizing its value!

Sherry Lyle
Sherry Lyle(@the-simple-hive)
4 years ago

I began recycling as a teenager in the 80’s. There was homeless woman in the small town in which I was raised and I always felt a tug of compassion when I saw her. I collected and recycled aluminum cans so she would have some, albeit small, income. That led to awareness in other areas of my life and I feel that was the impetus for my direction in green, simple, minimal living.

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman(@jenniferrottman)
4 years ago

I have been recycling as long as I can remember. I am not perfect, but try to improve all the time.

Ivy Jones
Ivy Jones(@ivy4jones)
4 years ago

I am thrilled that you have provided a link to the recycling service. I have about 3 old cell phones that I refused to throw away and now I can finally get rid of them!

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman(@domesticgeekgirl)
4 years ago

That is insane that there were no recycling programs before 1973!! Wild!

Linda Watson
Linda Watson(@lapwatsongmail-com)
4 years ago

We just held an E-Waste day at our church in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It’s our fifth year in a row for holding what I first organized as a “Green Fair” and it has blossomed into a “Spring Fair” with the E-Waste collection being one of the main focal points. In just five years, the size and weight of the electronics being recycled has drastically changed! The Ontario Electronic Stewardship program pays by the pound for the items collected. Gone now are most of the big old TV’s that brought in good money!! Regardless of the size, all electronics need to be responsibly disposed of and this is the best option. Many of the parts are re-used and re-purposed by the Stewardship program!

Karen Langlais
Karen Langlais(@kmomof3)
4 years ago

I haven’t been recycling long enough that’s for sure!! The more educated I become the more I see and understand the importance for our current generation and more importantly our future generations. It literally get a pit in my stomach when I read such heartbreaking statistics on waste and what it’s doing to our environment.

Sandra Arnold
Sandra Arnold(@sandiarnold)
3 years ago


Jenna Hunter
Jenna Hunter
2 years ago

I really like what you said about the options for disposing of old electronics. My husband and I have some old computers that we would like to recycle. Getting a professional to help us recycle them would be really helpful.