E-Waste

Written By: Tyler Sam, Sustainability Manager

Have you ever considered how many electronics are located in your home? According to a report by the Consumer Electronic Association in 2013, the average American household owns 28 electronic products. With more and more consumers upgrading devices to the newest smartphone or device, EPA’s 2014 Advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) report shows that Americans generated 3.36 million tons of obsolete electronic products in 2014. This waste is often referred to as e-waste. E-waste is an informal name for electronics that are at the end of their “useful life.”

E-waste is not only a domestic problem but a global issue that affects environmental and public health. Many of our electronics contain toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, phosphorus, and arsenic that if not recycled properly can seep into groundwater supplies.

So, what should you do when your electronic waste is ready to be discarded? According to the State of California’s Recycling program, “Reduce your generation of e-waste through smart procurement and good maintenance. Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can still use it. Recycle those products that cannot be repaired.”

In Arizona, there are multiple locations that offer e-waste recycling.

  • AZStRUT (Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology) is an Arizona-based non-profit that provides schools and non-profits with working computers.
  • The City of Scottsdale offers free electronics recycling days for Scottsdale residents. Just be sure not to forget a picture ID with proof of residency. Check your city’s website for local recycling options.
  • Best Buy locations offer free electronic recycling and even offer a haul away option, for a fee.
  • The City of Goodyear offers a year-round electronics drop-off site for Goodyear residents. They accept anything with a circuit board, with the exception of CRT televisions and CRT monitors.

If you are interested in planning your own e-waste collection drive, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality offers a great toolkit to help you organize your event. And if you are interested in classroom resources or project ideas, the EPA offers homework resources, lesson plans, and project ideas for students to learn about the environment.