Where Can You Recycle Electronics? The Ultimate Guide

What is recycling and why does it matter?

Recycling is the process of converting discarded materials into usable products and materials. In the United States, more than 86% of all electronics are thrown away rather than recycled. This has a huge impact on our environment by adding to landfills and polluting our water systems.

Recycling electronics also help preserve natural resources and energy while creating green jobs in local communities. It is estimated that over 130,000 jobs are created each year by the recycling of discarded electronics.

Where you can recycle electronics in the U.S.A

In the United States of America, you can recycle your electronics at all Best Buy stores. You can also recycle them by bringing them to any Staples or Office Depot store as well.

There are many recycling programs that take place in various communities across America, with some being more public than others. Many times, you will need to contact a specific location before they will tell you about their recycling program.

Instead of taking a gamble, go ahead and contact the recycling facilities directly any time you are unsure about their “take-back” programs. Many will tell you right over the phone if they take specific products.

Some recycling facilities even provide lists of products they accept, which can be very convenient.

It’s also important to know where NOT to recycle your electronics. Electronics should have no value at any of the following facilities :

  • Any facility that burns waste for energy production
  • Any facility that accepts plastics for recycling (plastic contaminates many electronic products)
  • Any facility that takes glass for recycling (glass contaminates many electronic products)
  • Any facility that accepts TVs for recycling (over 90% of all electronics are not recycled because of the extremely low demand for spare parts)
  • Any facility that accepts hazardous materials

Recycling your electronics directly through a local retailer is the best way to ensure they are handled properly. You could even ask them if they have any suggestions for other retailers in their area who recycle electronics.

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How to best prepare your electronics before recycling them for maximum efficiency, safety, and environmental impact:

  1. Before you recycle, be sure to remove the battery from any electronics that use batteries in order to keep them out of the recycling facility’s electronic waste stream. Put your used or dead batteries in one bin and take them with you when you visit a recycling location or retailer. Many recyclers are now able to accept dead batteries for proper disposal.
    And remember: Never dispose of large household appliances, CFLs, fluorescent tubes, computers, and TVs at the curbside!
  2. To estimate how much energy is still contained within your electronics, you can use an online calculator and enter the model number or a serial number of your device.

If you have a digital camera with removable media (memory card), please remove it prior to recycling for proper handling of your data.

Unfortunately, retailers don’t always recycle responsibly. It is critical for consumers to understand that Best Buy is the only retailer in the United States who guarantees they will manage all electronic waste in a responsible way before its final disposal.

They do this by managing their own statewide collection programs at their own recycling centers where they control the entire process from beginning to end.

When you drop your e-waste at a Best Buy store, one of their trained employees will determine if it’s recyclable and give you an itemized list that shows both the amount and type of materials – then securely transports the waste to their local recycling center. According to Best Buy: “We are committed to being responsible stewards of our planet.”

There are many things to take into consideration when trying to recycle electronics. Knowing what products they accept and which ones do not, how to prepare them for recycling, and where NOT to recycle is vital if you want your efforts to be successful and have a positive impact on the environment.

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