E-Waste Recycling

E-Waste recycling programs are growing in popularity, but they are still problematic.


This is especially a problem in the United States, which is the only developed country that does not require the manufacturers of electronics to also manage their disposal.

Because e-waste recycling is so troublesome, here are some other suggestions:

  • Try re-selling old electronics.
  • If electronics are still in good working condition, then consider donating them to a local school or non-profit organization.  For school donations, we recommend Cristina.org

Why Is Electronics Recycling Important?

  • Electronics are often designed to have limited shelf-lives.  As electronics continue to exponentially increase in their use worldwide, the ways that they are recycled will be increasingly important.
  • Rare earth metals are in high demand.  Internationally, only 10-15% of the gold in e-waste is actually recycled.
  • Electronics often contain toxic materials that need to be disposed of in specialized ways.  Most commonly this involves lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, and other heavy metals.
  • Hazardous waste disposal is a large international industry.  The most dangerous materials are often brought to countries with no oversight and cheap labor to be disposed of.

For more information specifically about the issues of e-waste check out step-initiative.org.