When you hear the word recycling you probably think about paper and cardboard, but today’s technology can recycle a lot more than that. In fact, most of your electronics can be recycled—they just have to be taken to a proper plant and processed by specific machines.
The nature of electronics means that they need to be transported safely and recycled with special machines. Curbside pickup could not be safely accomplished by the regular crews who pick up blue and green bins, making this service a significant additional cost for any city. Electronics are also thrown out less frequently, so a weekly pickup wouldn’t net enough product to be worth it.
Some cities may offer specialty curbside pickup, especially for businesses. There is usually a fee associated with this service. As mentioned above, some recycling plants may also offer a curbside pickup service.
If you’re not already recycling these electronics, you should be:
1. Display devices
All monitors and televisions are recyclable.
2. Desktop computers
You can often get good hardware out of old desktop computers and use it to improve your own, and the parts you don’t use can be recycled at any specialty plant.
3. Portable computers
This category also includes simple computer-like devices such as the Alphasmart.
4. Computer peripherals
Items such as mouse, keyboard, and computer speakers can also be recycled.
5. Printing, copying, and multifunctional devices
Both desktop and floor standing versions of these devices can be recycled. Some manufacturers have specialty recycling programs for these devices.
6. Telephones and answering machines
Telephones, both landlines and cell phones, can be recycled, along with answering machines and accompanying accessories such as Bluetooth headsets. Cell phone cases are usually not recyclable and should be removed before recycling.
7. Home theatre equipment
Believe it or not, ALL of your home theatre equipment can be recycled. This includes both portable items and wall mounted units.
Some big electronics stores like Best Buy have collection baskets where you can take small electronics like your old cell phones, but bigger items need to go directly to a plant. There are recycling pickup points and plants all across Ontario.
8. Alternative vehicle audio and video devices
This category includes any audio or video devices you purchase separately from your car for use in your car. It also includes other portable audio/video devices not necessarily intended for cars.
9. Video and audio recording devices
Camcorders and other video/audio recording devices, including items like baby monitors, can usually be recycled.
10. What about items not on this list?
Every city has different laws about what can and cannot be recycled, mostly based on the technology they have available. This list is just the electronics most commonly able to be recycled.
If you have old electronics that aren’t anywhere on the list above, contact your municipality’s recycling authority. They may have a specialty plant that can deal with the electronics you have.
If there isn’t an electronics recycling plant near you and you don’t have access to a vehicle you may be able to attend a special collection event in your neighbourhood.
If there aren’t any special collection events planned in your area in the near future, reach out to an electronics recycling service and ask about alternatives. Some will offer a pickup service for a set fee, especially if you’re recycling electronics from a business.