Ready to Recycle
When we talk about electronic products, we are talking about more than just televisions, cell phones and computer products. We are also referring to DVD players, VCRs, video cameras, digital cameras, gaming consoles, stereos, answering machines, photocopiers, scanners, printers and the list goes on. When you decide that it's time to trade up your product for a newer model, consider these possibilities before you pull the plug:
- Reuse it - You can add memory or other upgrades to old computers. You can connect your gaming systems, VCRs or DVD players to working televisions.
- Donate it - Schools, nursing homes and other organization might have a need for a television to watch movies or even training videos. Computers can be refurbished and used for a variety of things. Cell phones can be used as emergency use cell phones for the elderly, disabled, battered women's shelters, etc.
- Recycle it - There are environmentally friendly options available to recycle, instead of throw away, old electronic products. A legitimate electronics recycler can remove potentially hazardous materials. Doing so will not only help prevent those materials from accidentally being exposed to the environment but also means the materials can be reused to make new products.
Where to Recycle
EPA estimates that in 2009:
- 438 million new electronic products were sold;
- 5 million short tons of electronic products were in storage;
- 2.37 million short tons of electronic products were ready for end-of-life management; and
- 25 percent of these tons were collected for recycling.
Source: Electronics Waste Management In the United States Through 2009
- Under Missouri's Electronics Scrap Management Rule, any covered computer equipment bought in Missouri after July 1, 2010, comes with a recovery plan that specifies how the computer equipment manufacturer will collect and recycle that equipment when you no longer want it, at no cost to you. Covered computer equipment bought before July 1, 2010, and manufactured under a brand by a company still selling computers in Missouri will also be eligible for free and convenient recycling. The computer equipment manufacturers listed on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Registered Computer Equipment Manufacturers List have an approved recovery plan. If you need more information, contact the department's Hazardous Waste Program by email.
- Participate in a collection event listed on e-cycle Missouri's E-cycling Events Web page.
- Take your unwanted electronics to one of the recyclers listed on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Registered Electronics Recycling Businesses List. If you need more information, call the department's Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-3176 or 800-361-4827.
- Participate in a collection event hosted by your city, county or solid waste management district. If you need more information, call the department's Solid Waste Program at 800-361-4827.
- Contact electronics retailers in your community to find out if they have a take-back or recycling program.
- Visit EPA's website for a list of manufacturer, retailer, donation and recycling programs.
- Visit EPA's Plug-In To eCycling Web page for links to manufacturers and retailers that collect, reuse or recycle old electronics.
What to Recycle
Each collection site has its own list of accepted items and fees, if applicable. The most commonly accepted items are:
- Computers - CPUs, monitors, keyboards, mice.
- Hand held devices.
- Cell phones.
Note: Fees are often necessary to cover the recycler’s costs to dispose of the hazardous components. Check with the individual recycler to find out more about their services and fees.