To get the program to the regional and community levels, the EPA headed up “Plug-In to eCycling Partners.” These partners support electronics recycling programs in individual communities. They offer local governments, retailers, and manufacturers opportunities to reuse and recycle their products. Those who make and sell electronics then sponsor or instigate programs and opportunities for consumers to recycle their used electronic products.
One of the EPA’s goals is to educate consumers as to why the recycling of electronics is so important. They also want to make eCycling opportunities accessible to individual consumers and their household electronics.
According to the EPA, this new program has been quite successful. In 2008, the EPA collected 66.5 million pounds of electronic devices through their Plug-In Partners. Local governments have also gotten on board and passed legislation intended to manage used electronic devices. Large corporations have adopted these programs at their local retail stores. One retailer offers consumers small, medium and large boxes for sale, which the consumers then fill with used electronics and return to the store.
Usually, consumers bring their recyclable electronics to a participating location. Once the electronic products are collected by the EPA (usually this is done by the Partners), they are recycled or reused.
Reused items are repaired and refurbished, and passed on to others as a donation. You can repair or refurbish your own electronics as well, extending the life of the product and saving the energy of manufacturing new materials.
Recycling electronics involves using the materials and parts of the products. These materials and parts are then used to manufacture another product. This is more efficient than making items from virgin materials.
Some items that are commonly eCycled include:
* Computer monitors/screens
* Laptop computers
* Connection cables
Less common items include:
* Copying machines
* CD players
* Answering machines
* Computer towers/hard drives
* Cell/mobile telephones
* Remote controls
* Fax machines
* Video games
Occasionally, electronic products such as microwaves, fans, vacuum cleaners, smoke detectors, and toasters are eCycled.
As this new Program continues to develop and grow, you or your organization may want to participate. Check the EPA’s website (www.epa.gov) for local eCycling programs, or for information on how your organization can participate. Their site has links to organizations that are participating in the eCycling program.
We hope that EPA eCycling program a brief explanation helps you to better understand how to recycle your electronics properly!