Electronic waste, or e-waste, is obsolete, damaged, or unusable technology, electronic devices, and appliances. This includes things such as cell phones, iPods, cables, cords, laptops, desktop computers, and microwaves. If you would like to know whether an item you are looking to dispose of is recyclable as e-waste, please contact Sustainability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When electronic materials are recycled rather than thrown away, parts from those items can be reused in other electronics, meaning less money is spent on new materials and resources are not used as quickly. Electronic waste can also be very dangerous. Electronic devices often contain hazardous and harmful elements such as lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and brominated flame retardants. These chemicals, when put in to landfills, leach into the soil or enter the atmosphere and become dangerous to surrounding communities.
It is very important that you do your research before giving your electronic waste to companies advertising that they recycle e-waste. Many electronic waste recycling facilities actually just send the electronics they collect overseas, where people pick through massive landfills of electronic waste to collect the metals and profitable materials that are found in electronics. In the process, they come in contact with all of the dangerous chemicals also found in electronic waste.
The glass bins on campus serve as collection points for small electronic items such as cell phones, iPods, and cables. Please place small unwanted electronic items into glass bins in any academic, administrative, or residential building on campus (excluding campus houses). Items such as laptops and microwaves may be too large to fit inside glass bins, but can still be recycled by scheduling a pick-up with Sustainability Services via email (email@example.com) or at campus extension x1560.
The university partners with Green PC, a local company that recycles electronics as a part of the E-Cycle Washington program. Green PC refurbishes items that can be fixed and breaks down items in-house that cannot be fixed to sell locally. Green PC is dedicated to safe and sustainable handling of electronic waste.
Reuse is always preferable to recycling, and Green PC refurbishes all items that are able to be repaired. When items cannot be fixed, Green PC breaks them down in-house and reuses materials or sells parts locally. This means that hazardous materials are handled safely and responsibly and not sent to landfills anywhere in America or overseas.