If you've ever asked, "Can I put small electrical items in the recycle bin?" you're not alone. It's a common question that comes from both consumers and business owners alike. When you're running a facility, employees or guests might put any number of items in your bins, because of this you need a clear program on what types of items you accept and how you'll handle them.

In general, small electronics and small electrical items shouldn't go into mixed recycling bins. Nor should they be stored with aluminum cans or other metal items you might collect. Most small electrical items need correct handling to ensure there is no risk of fire, hazardous liquid leaks, or other issues. Hiring a specialty collection company can be the best way to handle recycling small electrical items.

The Risks of Batteries

Many small electronics today like cellphones, smart appliances, and flashlights include lithium batteries. Most batteries have a risk of leaking corrosive liquids, but rechargeable lithium batteries in particular also pose a fire and explosion hazard. Any items containing batteries you can't remove must be recycled with extra care for this reason. Even collecting them to send to a recycling company has its risks. You'll need a fire-resistant bin designed specifically for holding those items and a plan for emptying them on a regular schedule.

The Value of the Materials

Small electrical items can be packed with materials that can be reclaimed for reuse. If these items end up in a mixed recycling and trash stream instead, they may not be separated and used properly. That represents a loss of materials like copper, silver, gold, and palladium.

Some facilities earn a surprising amount by properly selling their bulk recyclable materials. Even if you plan to donate the small electrical items or have to pay to dispose of them, you need to separate them from the rest of the waste to get the best deal.

Glass Hazards

Glass is commonly used in small electrical items for screens, covers, and more. When these items are tossed together with other types of recycling, the glass breaks and becomes difficult to separate out. It also poses a hazard to anyone handling the recycling and may leave liquids leaking out of the item. Glass should be removed from items if possible before recycling for disposal. If the glass is integrated, such as a smartphone's screen, it needs careful handling before being recycled.

Creating Clear Signs About Disposal and Recycling

If your employees or guests are wondering "Can I put small electrical items in the recycle bin?" you need signs to answer them. Signage for your recycling bins should clearly explain what items are prohibited. Set up any bins you have for batteries or electronics nearby and direct traffic to them with signs. There should be no question about what kind of waste goes in which bin.

Deal with every kind of waste at your facility with recycling bins from us here at Recycle Away. We have a full range of batteries and electronics bins that can protect your facility while keeping it cleaner. You'll also find the bins and waste containers you need for every other kind of waste. Outfit your office, warehouse, or storefront with commercial-grade recycling solutions.