Saturday, January 30, 2010

How I Handle Electronics Recycling

Strawflower Electronics - Ben and dogs

If you're not a dog lover, don't worry; while Ben Tyson of Strawflower Electronics in Half Moon Bay, California often has his dogs in the store, they usually stay behind the counter. (He brought them out so I could get a photo.)

But I'm not writing about Strawflower Electronics because of the dogs; I'm writing because the store provides a wonderful service: e-waste recycling. Batteries (household, not car), cell phones, chargers, computers, printers, cables, stereo equipment, TVs and VCRs - Strawflower takes all this, and more.

Ben told me that in the store's latest government filing, they reported recycling 189,310 pounds of electronics; 113,000 of that was monitors and CRTs. Ben said they also work with partners who ensure this stuff isn't winding up in China.

So here's a big thank you to Strawflower Electronics for the service it provides. I like to support local businesses when I can - and even more so in a situation like this. So I buy all my batteries and printer cartridges from Strawflower - and other electronics, as needed. (The service is very good, too!)

If you have working electronics that aren't totally obsolete, it's nicer to get them a new home; I usually use Freecycle for this. But for electronics that have reached the end of their useful life, we can at least be sure to dispose of them properly.

OK, I know most of you don't live near me. But how about taking a quick moment to comment and let me know how you handle electronics recycling?


Kim said...

I live in Los Angeles and can drop off all e-waste, old medications and toxic waste at a city run site every weekend. It is painless, fast and free. I feel better, and my clients are very grateful for doing the right thing the easy way. Everybody wins!

Jeri Dansky said...

Kim, how nice that you have such a simple solution! I can easily handle e-waste and medicines, but toxics are bit more hassle, requiring an appointment for drop-off - and the site by me only has an event about every six weeks.

Claire Josefine said...

Yay, Jeri, for supporting local business!

How I handle e-waste:
#1 -- Begin by keeping it from coming in. The less I acquire, the less I have to get rid of.
#2 -- To the best of my ability, make sure that what does come in is made well, so that I get the most possible life out of it.
#3 -- When the time comes to get rid of it, I take it to my local recycling center, where they assure me that the e-waste is processed responsibly.

Claire Josefine said...

Oh, and #4 -- Repair when possible. My UPS was on the blink. The guy at the computer store tried to talk me into buying a new one, but all it needed was a new battery.

Jeri Dansky said...

Claire, thanks for the reminder about "reduce" part of reduce, reuse, recycle!

Wendy in Michigan said...

Best Buy has a recycling program and will take small items for free and larger items for $10, but they give you a $10 gift card to use at their store. I just checked their website and sounds like they are committed to responsible recycling:

I would prefer to patronize a local business, so I will do some more research next time around.

billf said...

In my county we have a "once a year" drop off for anything hazardous. That includes electronics and anything else you can think of that's considered toxic. You have to sign up for it and when you go it's a looonnnnggggg wait. It's ashamed the event is only once a year. I have a feeling many people get rid of the electronics in a less than legal way.

Jeri Dansky said...

Billf, it's too bad your county doesn't make things easier. (Once a year???) I'm sure you're right in assuming that many people dispose of their items in other, less appropriate ways.

Jeri Dansky said...

Wendy, thanks for mentioning Best Buy - and how nice to see they're doing things right. A number of big chains are providing some recycling options nowadays, including Staples and Costco.

But like you, I do love to patronize local businesses whenever feasible!

The Accessory Lady said...

This is great. There is a small eco shoppe in my neighborhood that provides a similar service, but mostly for smaller items like batteries, tapes, CD's, ink cartridges and the like. Recycling larger dead electronics is more of a challenge, but during warmer weather sanitation does big tech pick ups at the farmer's market for proper recycling and disposal. I hope more and more stores add this service, but of course it's always better if your don't have anything to dump to begin with.

MarySees said...

Unfortunately my county doesn't seem to have anything at all! I live east of Austin. We have recycling in this small town but nothing for batteries or hazardous waste. Austin has a place, but you have to be a resident of Travis county.

I finally gave up and dumped all the little batteries I had been saving for several years.

Jeri Dansky said...

MarySees, the next time you may want to check to see if any new options have developed.