E-waste is becoming an increasing health problem in Africa, China, and other developing areas of the world, and the United States and Europe are contributing to the problem in a big way. Not only computers and computer components are considered e-waste and a danger to the environment but also televisions, cell phones, and other electrical appliances as well. It isn’t good enough to set these things out for the garbage collectors to take and many collectors won’t even take them. There are alternatives other than pushing them into a ravine somewhere. These alternatives are generally safe to the community and the companies that participate in recycling e-waste are showing responsibility to the environment. The following programs are available only in the United States
Panasonic is committed to the responsibility of recycling their products. Accepted are TVs and other electronic equipment including brands by Panasonic, Quasar and Technics. The company created by Panasonic, Sharp Electronics, and Toshiba America is called “Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC also known as MRM. Their website provides locations of drop-off sites
Best Buy and E-Waste Including Appliances
Best Buy stores in the USA started a program to collect and recycle e-waste in 2006. They offer grants of $500 to $1500 to communities to aid them in recycling of e-waste. They have several drop-off kiosks at their stores where cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and ink jet cartridges are accepted and it is free. They will also take old appliances when a new one is purchased and delivered. They will accept televisions if they deliver a new one. Best Buy participates in cell phone recycling if a new phone is purchased at the store. Customers receive free post paid envelopes in which to mail their old phones in. There is a double bit of goodness when this happens because they donate dollars from this program to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Best Buy also hosts weekend recycling events in their parking lots. Check their website for places and times.
Staples and Computer Equipment Including Cartridges
Staples in the USA accepts used computers, monitors, laptops, printers and faxes for recycling. It doesn’t matter what brand or even if it was purchased at the store. A fee of $10 per piece of large equipment is charged, but smaller equipment such as keyboard, mice, and speakers are at no cost. Staples also has a program of collecting ink and toner cartridges where they offer $3 award that can go toward the purchase of more cartridges. Those that are included in this offer are HP, Lexmark, or Dell cartridges. Talk to a representative from local Staples stores for more information. They also accept cell phones, PDAs, pagers, digital cameras and chargers for free recycling.
Most counties in the United States will set up a collection for e-waste periodically within the year. Watch the local newspapers for information concerning dates.
Preserving the environment is very important to the survival of the world. In many poor countries children are melting down computer components in order to extract metals and subjecting themselves and all around them to toxic chemicals. Disposing of e-waste will take a big step in controlling health issues in the future.