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 General Information on Electronics and Ecycling

Electronics Recycling Questions and Answers

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What Hazards Are In Electronics?

Computer monitors and older TV picture tubes contain an average of four pounds of lead and require special handling at the end of their lives.

Computer Monitor
A typical Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
contains 4 lbs. of lead.


Other Hazards in Electronics:

Brominated flame retardants
Circuit Board
Circuit Boards
Central Processing Unit
Celluar Telephone
Cell Phones

When electronics are not disposed of or recycled properly, these toxic materials can cause health and environmental problems. 

What Electronics Can Be Recycled?

In addition to local recycling and collection events, many organizations accept donations of electronics for recycling.  Also, major electronics retailers have programs to recycle old electronics. Learn where to donate or recycle old computers and other electronic products.

Accepted AT All Locations

  • Computer Monitors
  • CPU's (Central Processing Units)
  • Televisions with Cathode Ray Tubes and Flat Panel Displays
  • Printers
  • Laptops
  • Cables
  • Keyboards
  • Mouses


Accepted AT Most Locations

  • Answering Machines
  • Camcorders
  • Compact Disc Players
  • Copiers
  • Duplicators
  • Electric Typewriters
  • Fax Machines
  • Hard Drives
  • Mobile Phones
  • Modems
  • Pagers
  • Printed Circuit Boards
  • Radios
  • Remote Controls
  • Stereos
  • Tape Players
  • Telephones
  • Telephone Equipment
  • VCRs
  • Word Processors
  • Batteries
  • PDAs
  • Games (Video)
Rarely Accepted

  • Microwaves
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Large Household Appliances (Refrigerators, Washing Machines, and Air Conditioners)
  • Toasters
  • Fans
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Lamps
  • Specialty Cookers


What Are Best Management Practices For Electronics?

First, Buy Green
Second, Reuse or Donate
Third, Recycle


First, Buy Green
Environmentally responsible electronics management involves purchasing new equipment that has been designed with environmentally preferable attributes.  The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Exit EPA Click for disclaimeris a purchasing tool that helps all purchasers evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors based on their environmental attributes.  EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their products.  For more information, see the Manufacturer Asset Recovery, Trade-In, and Leasing Programs.

Second, Reuse or Donate
Preventing waste is the best waste management practice.  Donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste stream for a longer period of time.  In addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, reuse also benefits society.  Visit the sites below for more information.

Third, Recycle

So, drop off your old electronics at a local recycling program or electronics collection event.  Or, ask your retail store or equipment manufacturer about product take-back programs.  For more information, visit the sites below.

What Regulations Apply to Electronics?

For Disposal:
Businesses, organizations, and institutions must follow federal and State hazardous and solid waste regulations when they dispose of or intend to dispose of unwanted electronics. CRTs in color computer monitors and televisions are considered hazardous when disposed or when intended for disposal because of the lead in the CRT. For more information about the hazards in electronics, visit EPA's national Web page. View your state's regulations here.

For Recycling or Reuse:
If you choose to recycle or to reuse computer and television monitors, and other electronics, then you must follow the federal Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Rule. (PDF)

When Are Electronics Considered A Hazardous Waste?

Electronics are considered a hazardous waste when

Electronics are not considered a hazardous waste when

Find more information on how your State regulates electronics.


Region 3 The Mid-Atlantic States

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