Washington Recycles: Electronics

Washington Recycles: Electronics

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the program?
Where can I recycle?
What can I recycle for free?
Why recycle electronics?
What if my electronic equipment still works?
What about my sensitive data?
What if I have a large number of electronic items?
What about my other electronics?
Is it really "free"?
What does "Small Effort, Big Return" mean?
How do I know my electronics are being recycled properly?
What happens to the electronics recycled through E-Cycle Washington?

Who can use the program?
Households, small businesses, schools & school districts, small governments, special purpose districts, and charities can recycle electronic products free of charge in this program. Visit " Who can recycle with E-Cycle Washington?" for more information.

Where can I recycle?
Call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit 1800recycle.wa.gov to find available electronic product recycling services in your area.

What can I recycle for free?
  • televisions
  • computers
  • computer monitors
  • portable or laptop computers including "tablet computers"
  • e-readers (also called e-book readers)
  • portable DVD players
Please note that computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and printers are not included in this program.

Why recycle electronics?
Many electronics, especially TVs and computers, contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury. Reusing and recycling electronics keeps these toxic materials out of our landfills and incinerators and also recovers valuable resources. The electronic equipment this program collects will be taken apart and separated into materials such as glass, plastic, metal and toxic chemicals. All recycling will follow performance standards set up by the Department of Ecology.

What if my electronic equipment still works?
Many groups and businesses focus on making used electronics available for reuse. More information on donating your electronics for reuse.

What about my sensitive data?
You are responsible for removing all data from your computers. More information on clearing sensitive data.

What if I have a large number of electronic items?
If you have large electronic items or more than 10 electronic items, please contact the WMMFA at 1-866-779-6632 before bringing them to a collection location.

What about my other electronics?
Many other electronics can and should be recycled. You may need to pay a fee to recycle items the E-Cycle Washington program doesn't cover.

Recycling locations for covered electronic products may also take peripherals (such as mice, keyboards, speakers, printers, and scanners), cell phones, MP3 players, game consoles, and DVD players. Check 1800recycle.wa.gov and call ahead to see what items a recycler will accept.

To find electronics recyclers near you, visit http://1800recycle.wa.gov.

Is it really “free”?
Registered collection sites must accept televisions, computers, computer monitors, and laptop computers from households at no cost. There may be a charge for at-home pick-up, curbside services, or other premium services.

A Washington State law passed in 2006 requires electronics manufacturers to pay for this recycling program. The new law is an example of "producer responsibility," where the company that makes a product is responsible for recycling the product at the end of its life. Manufacturers include the costs of recycling their products in the cost of doing business.

For more information about producer responsibility, visit the Northwest Product Stewardship website at www.productstewardship.net.

What does "Small Effort, Big Return" mean?
"Small Effort, Big Return" means that turning in your unwanted electronics for recycling will have a big impact. It's easy to do the right thing for the environment - the program provides a convenient way for everyone in Washington to return electronics for recycling. With a "Small Effort" on your part, there is a "Big Return" for the environment. When electronics are properly recycled resources are saved, toxic materials are kept out of our environment, and everyone benefits.

How do I know my electronics are being recycled properly?
The program's recyclers will take apart the electronic glass, plastic, metal and toxic chemicals. All E-Cycle Washington recyclers must meet the minimum performance standards in the Electronic Products Recycling Rule (WAC 173-900). In addition, all recyclers used by the WMMFA meet the voluntary Preferred Performance Standards found in Ecology's " Environmentally Sound Management and Performance Standards for Direct Processors."

What happens to the electronics recycled through E-Cycle Washington?
The majority of the electronics are disassembled for recycling here in Washington. Some electronics go out-of-state for processing and some materials are exported for recycling at approved facilities. However, obsolete electronics are not exported to third-world countries. Metals, plastics and glass are separated and sold as commodities to be reused as raw materials in the manufacturing of new products. On average only 2% of the total volume goes to a landfill - mostly particle board from cabinet TVs. Toxic materials such as batteries, leaded glass, circuit boards and fluorescent tubes must be managed properly by approved recyclers. Ecology also requires recyclers to meet standards designed to protect worker safety and health as well as the environment.



WHERE DO I RECYCLE?

CLICK HERE FOR RECYCLING LOCATIONS!