How to Dispose of Electronics

Options for Getting Rid of Old TVs, Computers and Other Devices

How to Dispose of Electronics

Getting rid of electronics, like old TVs, computers and cellphones can seem tricky, but there are actually several options for electronics disposal. Many older electronics are still valuable and can be donated or recycled, and if not, there are plenty of options for throwing them away. Use this guide to learn how to dispose of electronics responsibly.

Assess the Condition of Your Electronics

The first step to choosing how to dispose of your old electronics is to determine what condition they’re in. Electronics in working condition that aren’t significantly outdated can be donated to charity. Otherwise, they should be recycled where possible.

Your electronics can be donated if:

Note that while many charities don’t have the resources to repair damaged devices, some that specialize in electronics may accept items in need of repair. 

Options for Donating Your Electronics

Donating your old electronics allows you to dispose of them without harming the environment. 

Consider the following options for donating your electronics:

Keep in mind that most charities won’t be able to accept all types of electronics. Always inquire about their current needs and in what condition they accept items. 

Options for Recycling Your Electronics

If your old electronics aren’t suitable for donating, recycling them will conserve the materials they contain while keeping any hazardous substances out of landfills. Options for recycling electronics vary by location. 

Consider the following options for disposing of electronics by recycling:

Mail-in Options:

Drop-Off Options:

Protect Your Information Before Disposing of Electronics

Before donating or recycling electronics, it’s essential to remove all of your personal information. For computers, follow these steps to wipe your hard drive. For cellphones, follow these steps to remove personal data.

Options for Disposing of Your Old Electronics 

Since some electronics contain harmful materials, throwing them out should generally be a last resort.

Prior to disposal, any rechargeable batteries should be removed from your electronics and recycled. Rechargeable batteries contain harmful substances that should not be sent to landfills.

Dumpster Rental

If you’re disposing of old electronics as part of a larger home cleanout, renting a dumpster is a good way to get rid of everything at once. Local regulations may prohibit using a dumpster for electronics disposal in some areas. In others, an additional fee may apply for handling electronics. Call us to find out if electronics are accepted for disposal in your area.

Curbside Collection

If you just have a few electronics to get rid of in addition to your everyday trash, you can place them in your garbage can or on the curb for collection in many cities. However, some cities ban electronics from area landfills due to the hazardous materials they contain. Double-check the rules in your location.

Household Hazardous Waste Facility

If curbside collection isn’t an option in your area and you don’t have enough junk to warrant renting a dumpster, then the right way to dispose of electronics is to drop them off at your local household hazardous waste facility. Some facilities serve individual cities, while others operate at the county level. To find yours, search “household hazardous waste” on your city's website.

Electronics Disposal FAQs

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Are there any fees associated with disposing of electronics?

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In some areas, landfills charge a fee to dispose of electronics. This covers the cost of properly handling the hazardous materials they contain. The fee applies whether you’re disposing of electronics using a dumpster rental or your curbside collection service. However, in most areas there is no fee to drop off electronics at a household hazardous waste facility. Just be aware that you may need to provide proof of residency in the city or county that facility serves.

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Why are there special regulations for electronics disposal?

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Many electronic components contain metals, such as lead and mercury, that are harmful to your health. While there’s no danger under normal circumstances, once electronics are compressed in a landfill those substances can be released into the environment. For this reason, many cities require electronics to be disposed of with the same care as other hazardous substances, such as gasoline and motor oil. 

Have some other tricky items to dispose of? Check out our other bulk waste disposal how-tos to learn how to get rid of other bulky and difficult debris.

Need to know if electronics are allowed in dumpsters in your area?
Give us a call at 1-866-284-6164 to learn more.