Here in Pennsylvania, the law of the lands says that you may no longer place computers and other electronics at the curb with regular trash. This is good news for everyone, even if some folks are squawking about it being an “inconvenience.” New Jersey passed a similar law years ago. Even if your state hasn’t passed a similar law yet, please take steps to safeguard our habitat and water for our critters. And by critters, of course, I mean us.
So what should you do instead of hauling that monstrous old TV to the curb, you know, the one that’s been hiding in the basement for decades? What about the three VCRs that you still own? The four computer towers that you’ve been afraid to throw away since the ’90’s, in case you needed something off the old drive?
For a while some of the thrift stores like Goodwill were recycling everything including old CRT-style TV’s and monitors, but that’s no longer the case. You might find a community “anything with a plug” event, which is a great way to go. You can also reach out toe PAR Recycleworks in Philly at email@example.com. There is currently a decent market for the raw and otherwise hazardous materials in those old electronics, and some companies can make a money by responsibly recycling them. But you might have heard that the recycling landscape is changing worldwide, so before you cart your old TV to a recycler, call and check to be sure they are accepting your goods.
Some retailers are even getting into the action. Best Buy has a pretty comprehensive recycling program, and they’ll take everything from old phones to computers for free. The only thing they y won’t take is old CRT monitors. But if you are turning in any other type of computer, just be sure to remove and destroy that old hard drive like I showed you before you send old computers to recycling. Best Buy also has a great recycling bin in the front of most stores where they will take everything from cords to disks. There’s just no reason to send these recyclables to the landfill, where they will stay for thousands of years. This will be really handy when you organize that old rat’s nest of cords.
Earth911.com is a great resource, with their “Find a Recycling Center” always on their home page. You can just enter the type of item you want to recycle, and it finds a drop off point near you. Over the years I’ve found this information changes frequently, so even if you didn’t find a recycler for your things last year, try again.
Your county or other municipality is also a great spot for recycling resources. Most counties I’ve ever lived in have periodic drop-off days, where they take all kinds of hazardous materials. This is true throughout the country.
If you have other odd items that you are trying to find another home or recycling spot for, remember to check out this handy guide to recycling almost everything.
The one thing you don’t want to do is organize your gear, and then set your old electronics in the basement (or garage or elsewhere). We know for sure it won’t get recycled there!
Yes, getting new goodies is good, but please play along when you are done with your stuff, especially the electronic waste loaded with heavy metals and toxins, and send it to the right place when you are done with it. Thank you.