Electronics recycling made easier

If your house is like mine, you probably have one or two VGA monitors sitting around preventing you from finding whatever it is you’re looking for when you fall over them.

Despite noble attempts, recycling electronics has never been easy, although since Minnesota passed a law requiring it, it’s gotten better.

Today, the concept took a giant step forward when Best Buy announced it will start everyday recycling on February 15. You can take up to two electronic items a day to a store. You’ll pay $10 each, but you’ll get a gift card in return.

The company said it will take most consumer electronics, including televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, computer CPUs and notebooks, small electronics, VCR and DVD players, and phones. Consumers can also recycle accessories such as keyboards, mice, and remotes.

All that said, there are still options to get rid of your junk for free — or at least more cheaply. Here’s a list of options.

  • What kind of gift card, I wonder?

  • bobbydole

    nice, i’ve got a nice big fat monitor that i never knew what to do with..

  • Just a reminder, Minneapolitans – you can leave two electronic items out on your recycling day and get them picked up *for free.*

    Yes, they are recycled.

  • mulad

    I think most places require you to pay for a CRT, since there’s so much lead in those. Other electronics usually have a small amount of lead as well (except for RoHS-compliant stuff, which should be lead-free), but the amount is small enough that many places take that stuff for low or no charge.

    I think a typical CRT fee is more like $15 or $20, so I’d consider $10 a deal for those. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to pay $10 each to get rid of my pile of old hard drives.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to figure out where electronics end up when they are dropped at the random local recycler — having seen reports about the electronics dumping grounds in China, India, and elsewhere, I worry that my stuff would end up being taken apart by someone who isn’t using proper protective measures.

    I’d certainly rather pay a nominal fee to get something disposed of properly than to have it go make someone sick as they tear it apart in a third-world country. At the same time, I don’t want to pay a company when I don’t know where their waste stream is going…

  • Elizabeth T.

    mulad: the documentation required for someone to dispose of hazardous waste (using the EPA’s definition of it) is publicly available. You can find out where it’s going by inquiry through the MPCA. Now, that said … it will likely be a convoluted request, but you could find out. Or you could just ask the company who their hazardous waste management company is, and find out where they send their stuff for recycling.

    All of this is handled under EPA RCRA regulations, which in Minn are implemented by the MPCA (minnesota pollution control agency). Both of which have websites addressing this issue.