The recycling of electronic waste, or e-waste, is increasingly necessary as electronics are now ingrained in our every day lives. All that electronic gadgetry has a finite lifespan—who doesn’t have an outdated or unwanted ipod, laptop, phone or TV lying around the house?
E-waste has become a huge global problem with much of our unwanted electronics being shipped off to China to be unsafely scavenged then dumped, posing health hazards from leaching toxic materials. Many companies that claim they recycle electronics actually just send them oversees for a profit.
So what options are there to responsibly dispose of, or better yet, recycle our unwanted electronics?
Responsible, certified and bonded companies (some with the E-Stewards designation) across Idaho are properly disposing of Idaho’s e-waste. The valuable material stored within them—think copper wiring, minute amounts of silver and gold—is reclaimed for future use. The toxic materials are disposed of properly, recyclable plastics and metals are processed and the rest is taken to landfills.
One of the most impressive groups is the Reuseum near Boise. An electronic surplus and supply store, the Reuseum is also a tech-recycling hub that accepts a large variety of electronics and takes care of erasing all private data.
The best part about their program though, is that they use the devices brought to them to teach kids about electronics and how they work. As you may remember from childhood, the best way to learn how something works is to tear it apart—which is exactly what kids get to do at the Reuseum. Along with deconstruction workshops, the Reuseum offers robot building and circuitry classes.
So if you’re like me and have a collection of old devices tucked away in a closet waiting to be dealt with, hesitate no more. Groups like the Reusuem even offer free pick-up for businesses that have a large amount of material—you could promote an e-waste drive within your own office or school!
Here are some other responsible recycling options:
- Blaine County Recycle Center—All electronics except TVs and microwaves
- Pacific Steel and Recycling, Sandpoint—All electronics except monitors, TVs and microwaves
- Staples in Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, Moscow and Lewiston—All electronics
- Staples—All electronics
If you don’t see a facility close to you, try searching online for “e-waste recycling” in your city, or contact your local government or recycling center to see what they accept.