You've probably heard the term "e-waste" a hundred times. But what does it mean, exactly?
E-waste (or electronic waste) is often defined as consumer electronics that no longer work or are just outdated and unwanted. It includes computers, other office equipment, TVs, mobile phones, entertainment devices and more.
But these devices are only "e-waste" if you throw them in the trash. Electronics are full of valuable materials like copper, aluminum, glass and even plastics that can and should be reused!
Washington has a free statewide program called E-Cycle Washington that provides convenient collection sites for computers (including tablets), monitors, e-readers, portable DVD players and TVs. You can find free E-Cycle drop-off locations anywhere in the state by going to EcycleWashington.org. In Walla Walla, the following businesses are E-Cycle drop-off sites:
- Walla Walla Recycling, 827 N. 12th St.
- CEP Recycle Walla Walla, 1090 W. Rose St.
- Goodwill Store, 217 E. Alder St.
Some other common electronics like cellphones and printers are not currently included in the E-Cycle program, but a few larger retailers of electronics have their own recycling programs that take these and other electronics for free. Check with local retailers to see if you can recycle your cellphones, printers and other items with them.
E-cycling not only recycles the materials with value in our electronics, but it also assures that harmful components like lead, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants are managed responsibly and kept out of the environment - and our food chain. The Department of Ecology oversees the E-Cycle Washington program to ensure the proper management of the hazardous components and to maximize the recycling of all materials.
To date, over 212 million pounds of electronics have been recycled through E-Cycle Washington and nearly 14 million pounds of lead alone have been kept out of the landfill. So don't "e-waste" your electronics, E-Cycle them!
If you have any questions about E-Cycle Washington, contact Miles.Kuntz@ecy.wa.gov at the Department of Ecology.