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E-Waste: How Vermont and Other States Are Recycling Electronics

Posted by Emily Bellmore on 2/6/2015 to Public Education

Electronic waste or e-waste is any discarded electronic or electrical device. Many of these devices are classified as office electronic equipment, old computers, televisions, mobile phones and even refrigerators. Did you know that an estimated 50 million tons of e-waste in produced every year? The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the remaining number sadly ends up in our landfills and incinerators. Some of these items that get thrown away, are considered hazardous household waste. It's important for people to recycle e-waste properly to local recycling and disposal centers. In turn, these items can be destined for reuse, resale, and salvage.

E-waste recycling is very important to many states in our nation, including, Vermont which is one of the twenty-five states so far, that has passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling into action. Since 2011, Vermont has put a ban on throwing away electronics such as desktops, laptops, CRT's, TV's and monitors, as well as flat panel TV monitors and printers. There are still items in the wide scope of products in e-waste recycling that are not mandatory for VT. These include VCR and DVR's, cell phones, e-readers, cable satellite receivers and more. States like Illinois, Washington and Oregon are leaders in e-waste recycling, and continue to receive high collection rates to e-waste collection sites. Illinois has even created enticement for reuse products by giving extra credit to manufacturers toward their goals for products that are reused versus recycled. Washington even awards a bonus for e-waste collected through charitable organizations whose main goal is to reuse.

Vermont has a program through the state called "Vermont E-Cycles." The FREE Vermont Electronic Recycling Program established collection locations that are located statewide and have year-round operation. All printers, computers, monitors, peripherals and televisions regardless of age, brand or condition are fully approved for free recycling. E-cycles has more than 100 facilities that offer drop-off services. Most of these locations offer free disposals, but some however, charge a fee for certain items wanting to be disposed of.

E-waste recycling has quickly become a hot topic over the years due to the amount of the products not being properly disposed of. It's been a challenge to recycle these electronics because they contain toxic materials, it's not easy to recycle them, and most e-waste still ends up in our landfills. At Recycle Away, we see the value in disposing and recycling of these products. We currently offer a small selection of battery and e-waste recycling bins. Here are our current bins:

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