Why Donate or Recycle Electronics?
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.
Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics
For your computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product.
Delete all personal information from your electronics.
Remove any batteries from your electronics, they may need to be recycled separately.
Every year in the United States, millions of single use and rechargeable batteries are bought, used and recycled or disposed of in the trash. Batteries come in various chemistries, types and sizes to fit their use.
Single-use batteries can generally be removed from the device when they stop powering the device.
Rechargeable batteries may be removable or permanently attached to the device.
The increased demand for batteries can be traced largely to the rapid increase in use of small portable electronics, power tools, and other everyday items, as well as the increase in “smart” products, such as small and large appliances and automobiles.
Batteries are manufactured using different mixtures of chemical elements designed to meet customers’ power and performance needs. Batteries can contain metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel and silver, which can pose a threat to human health or the environment when improperly managed at the end of their service life. Battery types are identified by marking and labeling, not by the battery’s shape or the color of the label.
Some batteries may also contain materials such as cobalt, lithium and graphite that are considered critical minerals by the United States Geological Survey. Critical minerals are raw materials that are economically and strategically important to the United States and have a high supply risk potential and for which there are no easy substitutes. Consequently, every effort should be made to recycle and recover these materials to ensure they will be available for generations to come.
Once a battery is no longer useful, the type and chemistry of the battery determines which of the various waste management options to use. It is important to manage batteries correctly according to their type because some batteries can cause a risk to safety and health if mismanaged at the end of their lives. Batteries can have enough energy to injure or start fires even when used and when they appear to be discharged. For safety, remember that not all batteries are removable or serviceable by the user—heed battery and product markings regarding safety and use for all types of batteries.
Check for recycling facilities in your state or community.