Commonly known as e-waste, this category of waste has grown the fastest over recent years.
E-waste includes, but is not limited to: batteries, light bulbs, cell phones and other telephones, computers, tablets, audio components, video game systems, televisions and monitors, cameras, ink cartridges, printers and copiers, digital clocks, radios and transmitters, power tools, certain small appliances and all cords. Household controls such as old thermostat and alarm keypads are e-waste when their use is discontinued. Some hospital or home healthcare equipment is also considered e-waste.
E-waste needs to be kept out of our landfills, funneled to authorized processors, safely disassembled, and the individual components recycled or destroyed as appropriate. This is because the individual parts that make up electronics, and especially batteries, monitors and thermostats, may contain dangerous chemicals that can contaminate soil and water, or produce health problems for humans if handled improperly. This includes materials like lead potentially found in solder and circuit boards; cadmium and other toxins in batteries; and, mercury in the fluorescent backlights in many flat panel displays. However, even some of these can be recycled and the “cleaned” material reused to reduce the chance that these toxins are released to the environment.
The key is to get your e-waste in the hands of the right people. Unwanted electronics may not be valuable to you, but broken down to the various components they can be very valuable to others for recovery and reuse of materials such as copper, steel and glass. That is why it is also important to be choosy about where you take your e-waste. Recycling is becoming more convenient. Some businesses will even buy unwanted electronics from you. But before you drop, check to make sure that your e-waste will be handled according to local, State and Federal guidelines and regulations. The highest standard for disposal is ISO140001.
The easiest way to know whether you are disposing of your e-waste at a reputable location is to explore the information in this section. In general, the City of Fort Lauderdale accepts all e-waste at our Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Events. We also recommend Fort-Lauderdale based ARC Broward Electronics Recycling Services.
For more information on electronics recycling, check these resources.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an online electronics recycling directory searchable by device and company. Manufacturers set up programs for recycling their own products in order to meet their own sustainability goals, and also in part to participate in the Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge.
This is a website sponsored by the Consumer Electronic Association. They have a lot of fun and easy-to-use online tools for learning about purchasing electronics with sustainability in mind, as well as for lowering your energy usage. Try the wiidget on the left to search for electronics recyclers near you. Just enter your zip code!
This website is offered by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a trade association representing the global information and communications technology industries. They offer a searchable directory of drop locations for all kinds of electronics, and a nice set of questions to think about when selecting an electronics recycler. Please keep in mind that local listings for Fort Lauderdale are not comprehensive and only include those firms which have registered with the site, however there are many regional options listed.