Technological advances and the resulting increase in electronic equipment pose a unique situation in terms of waste disposal. While electronic waste, also known as e-waste only represents a small portion of the waste stream (about 1%), the potential impact on the environment is high. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the increasing amount of electronic waste may cause environmental hazards. The EPA contends that many of the materials found in electronic equipment (e.g. computers, mobile phones, and batteries) can present hazards to the environment and to human health.
Commercial Computer and Technology Recycling
To encourage consumers to recycle and dispose of electronic devices in an environmentally sound manner, the Township offers an annual recycling event. The date of the event fluctuates each year but is generally in April around Earth Day. Check the website and newsletter for the exact date each year.
Many companies have established a year-round recycling program for consumer electronics.
Best Buy customers can bring up to seven units per day, per household, to any U.S. Best Buy store for recycling . This policy is valid regardless of where the customer bought the item, what brand it is, or how old it is. Through this program the company will accept an extensive list of consumer electronics, including televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, computer CPUs and notebooks, small electronics, VCR and DVD players, and phones, as well as accessories such as keyboards, mice, and remotes. There is no charge for this service. For more information on the Best Buy program, click here.
Staples has a program for customers to recycle e–waste by bringing their used computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, and fax machines to any U.S. Staples store. All brands are accepted and a recycling fee of $10 per piece of large equipment is charged to cover handling, transport, product disassembly and recycling. Smaller computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge. For more information on the Staples e-waste recycling program, click here.
Office Depot stores across the country are now offering a low cost recycling service for consumer electronics. Boxes can be purchased for $5, $10 or $15. The box is then taken home and filled with electronics. The open box is then returned to the store. The store will then ship the material for recycling. For information on the Office Depot Program, click here.
Light Bulb Disposal
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb recycling is important in preventing mercury from entering the waste stream and the environment. Fluorescent light bulbs use approximately one-quarter of the energy of a common incandescent bulb and last an average of 10,000 hours. Normal incandescent bulbs have a life expectancy of about 750 hours. Using fluorescent bulbs is a great way to save energy.
Proper disposal of these energy saving products is very important. Spent lighting products are the second largest source of mercury contamination in our municipal solid waste systems. Recycling fluorescent light bulbs keeps toxic mercury out of the environment, where even a few ounces can be a danger to wildlife, fish and humans. CFL bulbs can be brought to the Township Household Hazard Waste Drop-Off Events held the first Saturday of May and October or dropped off at Home Depot.
Disposal of a broken light bulb
If a light bulb breaks, open a window to let vapors escape and leave the room for fifteen minutes. Wear disposable rubber gloves, and clean up the area with a wet paper towel or single-use wipe. Double plastic bag everything for disposal.
For more information on light bulbs and their disposal please visit the following sites:
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Protection Agency – Mercury Containing Bulb Recycling Programs
For potential alternate resources for the disposal of these and many other items check out the 2008 ARC Resource Recovery Guide.
Updated: January 2014