Skip to content

Spring Cleaning and Greening: How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics and Household Hazardous Waste

2012 June 14

By Dan Gallo

Click the map to find HHW and e-waste collection events near you!It’s that time of  year again – time to clean out old items from those closets, basements and garages!

In your spring cleaning, you’ll likely come across old electronics – like TVs, computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, and cell phones – or Household Hazardous Waste – like paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides – and you may not be sure how to properly dispose of them.

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and highly engineered materials, which require energy to mine and manufacture.  Reusing and recycling electronics conserves natural resources and energy and averts any pollution involved in the manufacturing process. Some of the materials in electronics (such as lead, nickel, cadmium, and mercury) could pose risks to human health or the environment if disposed of improperly.

Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous wastes.  These too require special care when you’re purging them from your home, so resist the inclination to leave them on the curb with the rest of your trash, and do not pour such liquid products down the drain!
If you have old items like these, they can be taken to upcoming household hazardous wastes collection events.  Used electronics can also be taken to certain household hazardous wastes collection events.

The counties of southeastern Pennsylvania have recently developed a new, interactive web map to inform residents of upcoming HHW and Electronics Collection events near them.  The Mid-Atlantic Region’s eCycling web page also has links to electronics recycling information in each Mid-Atlantic State and the District of Columbia.

Find out more about eCycling here!  What are you doing with your old electronic devices and household hazardous wastes?

About the Author: Dan Gallo has been with EPA since 1989 and has been the Electronics Recycling Coordinator for the region’s Land and Chemicals Division since 2007.  He has also served as Enforcement Coordinator for the region’s TSCA Lead-Based Paint Program.  Dan has also been involved in sustainability partnership activities with federal agencies and private institutions, along with a federal green building certification project.  When not in the office, Dan likes running, golf and volunteer work.  He and his family reside in Brookhaven, PA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. June 20, 2012

    very nice blog, i always learn so much! keep up the posts!:)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. August 1, 2012

    Though the equipment may be rotten out on a whole, but it is most likely that it will have valuable parts inside it that can still be used or recycled. So it is always better to find better ways of disposing off household stuff, especially electronic equipment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Dan Gallo permalink
      August 1, 2012

      Dear Garmin 910xt,

      I totally agree with your comment. EPA believes in reuse and refurbishment, then recycling as a tiered approach to handling old electronics. Certified electronics recyclers are also committed to seek to this tiered approach. Check out http://www.epa.gov/eCycling and also the websites for R2-certified and e-Stewards certified electronics recyclers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS