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Electronics Recycling: How to Dispose Of Your E-Waste Properly

Blog - posted by Benjamin - July 2, 2024

Electronics recycling isn’t the same as tossing various items into your standard dumpster or recycling bin. To help recycling specialists and disposal personnel get the most use out of your old electronics, properly disposing of any type of e-waste according to its specific e-recycling guidelines is critical. In this blog, we’ll guide you through electronics recycling, why it’s important, and tips for disposing of e-waste properly.

Key Takeaways

  • Electronics recycling is a great way to clear space and support a clean environment.
  • The process of recycling electronics is multi-tiered, recurring specialized locations.
  • Not all electronics can be recycled; regardless all electronics require special preparation.

Why Electronics Recycling Matters

We all have old electronics that we don’t use or don’t function anymore. While you could just as easily toss your e-recycling items out, dump them in a landfill, or just crush them and make them fit into your waste canaster or standard residential dumpster, recycling these electronics provides a much more sustainable solution. The reality is that our world has finite resources that are constantly being consumed. In 2018 alone over 2M tons of electronics were generated in the US alone. Materials like aluminum, palladium, platinum, lithium, copper, plastics, iron, and gold are constantly being mined and manufactured to meet the demands of electronics production. The toxins and waste generated from electronic materials, also called e-waste, are extremely harmful to the environment as a whole, contributing to pollution, water deterioration, and even issues in the human body. Studies have found that e-waste-generated pollution can cause significant damage to lung cells as the airborne pollutants are inhaled passively.


Recent E-Waste Statistics

One United Nations Environmental Programme study of 300 schoolchildren discovered that half the students tested positive for respiratory problems, after exposure to electronics-based processing pollutants near them. The study also found that 30% of these children showed signs of abnormalities in their blood. Specifically, they cited that the abnormalities seemed to indicate heavy-metal poisoning from electronics. Additionally, because e-waste is non-biodegradable, lingering junk can accumulate in protected areas. Combined with the pollution that electronics manufacturing produces, many scientists think that electronics creation over e-recycling is a contributing factor to climate change. Today, between 20-50M tons of e-waste are generated worldwide, threatening our environment and individuals. While it can seem hopeless and unstoppable, there are ways individuals like you can have a positive impact on the work, and one of the ways is through electronics recycling.

The Impacts of E-Recycling

Recycling your electronics is a great way to directly reduce the amount of pollution generated by manufacturing new electronics. Additionally, electronics recycling alleviates demands for new materials required to build electronics, which can also potentially help lower electronics costs in the long run. Consider that recycling 1M cell phones alone can recover multiple different resources, including palladium, copper, silver, and gold. Experts estimate that such a recycling effort would generate over 35K pounds of re-harvested elements. This means that even a small amount of old or unwanted electronics you recycle can accumulate and help significantly offset carbon emissions related to electronics manufacturing.

Additional Benefits of Recycling Electronics

Again, recycling or reusing second-hand or older units of electronics helps more people have access to technology. You as an individual or even a business can even receive tax incentives for donating to schools, non-profits, or others pressed for electronic resources. On a broader scale, recycling these electronics also produces more green, eco-friendly business structures that can function to benefit both the economy and the environment. This circular economy reduces our need for stripping the environment of new materials through the idea of reduce, reuse, and recycle. The idea of this is to focus on sustainably harnessing the electronic materials we already have in order to preserve our natural resources as much as possible.

A Brief Look at the E-Recycling Process

If you’re concerned about the electronics recycling process being very demanding on your part, it’s actually not. Mostly, you’ll need to simply gather the proper materials and designate an accredited electronics recycling facility to take it from there. Here’s a breakdown of the recycling process.

1.  Materials Gathering

Very simple. You or your business will gather all the electronics you’d like to dispose of. From here though, you’ll want to make sure that none of them are compromised in a way that can harm others or the environment. If the electronics in question store fuel or have chemicals, it may not be safe to recycle them.

2. Electronics Removal

After all the electronic devices are gathered and confirmed to be safe and non-toxic, you’ll need to drive them to a designated electronics recycling facility. Many local counties have designated electronics recycling dropoff locations you can take advantage of. These should be free to use, but if you have a lot of electronics to recycle, you may end up having to do multiple trips. Additionally, could also work with removal specialists to this for you, but this is be more expensive. Alternatively, you can rely on dumpster rental services who will take care of the entire transportation process for you after you’re loaded – cutting the effort in half. If you’re on a construction worksite and already using a construction dumpster, be sure to ask if you could designate a drop-off of electronics recycling. Several dumpster rental companies like Temporary Dumpster can do this if you’re already working with us.

 recycling electronics

3 Components Shredding and Sorting

Once your components reach the e-recycling center, they are stripped apart and deconstructed piece by piece. This is done to identify what aspects of the electronics are reusable and categorize them for proper repurposing. From here, individual electric components are inspected and sorted based on the precise type of materials they are, such as plastic or metal. This helps manufacturers be able to quickly take and use the parts they need. During this time, any other hidden features that could pose a hazard are removed prior to further processing.

4. Dust Cleansing

The E-waste undergoes an intensive cleansing process, beginning with a deep cleaning targeting any dust particles. Dust and other fine particles can warp components and erode metal and relative elements. If you can, lightly cleaning your e-waste before donation can help!

5. Metal Reclamation

After the dust and dirt materials are removed from the components, metal fragments and sections of the former electronic unit are sorted by using a magnet. Metal represents some of the most crucial electronics recycling components so this section is important for reusing quality metal.

6. Water Removal

Throughout the cleaning process, wet components can damage the elements of the e-waste if left idle and corrode the metal. After the magnets extract the metal from the rest of the components such as glass and plastic, the recycling specialists will then work to remove all the water that might have accumulated on the metal fragments.

7. Final Refinement

Finally, after all the materials are sorted and thoroughly cleaned, the raw materials, particularly metal, will then go through a treatment to restore and enhance the natural properties of the base elements. For metal contained within the electronics, this will involve melting down and possibly combining them with other metals of the same element. The goal here is to remove any lingering blemishes such as rust in order to have pristine components for reuse.


How to Properly Dispose Of Your E-Waste

While you are not a licensed e-waste refiner, if you want to recycle your old electronics, there are a couple of important steps to follow in order to properly dispose of the materials. Make sure your state and county accept the electronics for recycling Based on your location, there may be limitations or restrictions on what electronics you can recycle. In general, you can recycle items like:

  • Computers
  • Phones
  • Printers
  • Tablets
  • Radios
  • Scanners
  • Televisions
  • Power tools
  • Cameras
  • Appliances
  • Toasters
  • Lamps
  • And more

Know the items you cannot recycle

Again, you’ll need to make sure that the electronics you wish to recycle are accepted by your designated recycling center or removal specialists. Some of the common electronics that cannot be recycled are those that contain chemicals and mercury. Coolant is another potentially dangerous and toxic material that many junk and dumpster rental services are not equipped to transport due to the special requirements needed to remove them safely. Because of this, our dumpsters are not rated to handle freezers, air conditioners, or fridges.

Make sure your data is removed

If you’re recycling a computer or have any other identity-related data on your old electronics, remove them. This helps the cleaning process while also ensuring that your identity remains protected.

Organize your electronics

To make the recycling process go smoother, consider taking time to group and organize the types of electronics you’re recycling. This can be as simple as grouping phones, power tools, and radios together if you have multiple types of the same item. Make sure you label these containers to avoid confusion.

Prep items for electronics recycling

For best results, follow these steps. 1. Once you set aside the different types of electronics recycling you wish to send off, take the time to inspect and clean them to rule out if there are any remaining chemicals or damage that need to be removed. This doesn’t have to be overly thorough, but a simple dusting would greatly help the refining process. 2. Gather broken or fragmented pieces if your electronics are partially broken. Remember, every little bit counts. Place these pieces into bags and label them. If you can deconstruct the electronics further, you can repeat the process as this would help refiners separate and catalog specific components. 3. Remove any batteries or power sources. These must be recycled separately. Some batteries, like laptop lithium batteries, might not be recyclable by typical providers and should be taken to technology dealers like BestBuy.

e-waste dumpster

Use Dumpster Rentals for Your Electronics Recycling

While important, it’s easy to see that your electronics recycling can become a major undertaking. One way you can save time and money, and still give back to the environment, is to use a dumpster rental service. Let’s look at how.

More electronics recycling transportation

If you only have one or two items to recycle, then your best option might be just to take them to the recycling center yourself. However, if you have lots of items that need to be recycled and limited space in your vehicle, relying on a dumpster rental service like us lets you be able to recycle all your items at once, and with very little effort. All you do is load up your electronics for recycling and we take it from there. What’s more, we have multiple dumpster sizes available depending on the amount of electronics recycling you have.

Less hassle

Besides finding out which facilities will take the e-recycling units you have, there’s also the matter of physically transporting them to the location. Renting a roll off dumpster via trusted service provider like Temporary Dumpster completely removes this burden for you. You simply rent the dumpster most aligned with your requirements, load the electronics for recycling, and we take it from there. We know exactly where to take these components to ensure they get recycled and repurposed according to local guidelines.

Save time and money

All you pay for our dumpster rental service is the rental fee. For that, you don’t have to spend the gas money or take extra time dropping off your electronics recycling yourself. Instead of multiple trips and having to sacrifice weekends or time off, we’ll deliver your e-waste exactly where it needs to go!

Temporary Dumpster: Your Convenient Electronics Recycling Solution

The fact that you are even considering recycling your old electronics is an amazing step for a healthier environment and a more cost-effective economy. And of course, a major step in you getting rid of junk crowding your home. Temporary Dumpster is here to help with your electronics recycling. With easy-to-fill dumpster rental options and highly flexible rental periods, we provide an easy resource for you to get all of your recycling to the destination where it will have the most impact. Start by just giving us a phone call 1-800-513-4973 or getting your free dumpster quote.

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