By Suellen Mele
Electronics manufacturers are showing just how well product stewardship programs can work in Washington. E-Cycle Washington is recycling huge quantities of computers, monitors and TVs from residents, schools and small businesses – all paid for and provided by the manufacturers who make the products.
Small businesses (under 50 employees) can take advantage of this great opportunity to recycle their computers, monitors and TVs free of charge – and to help meet their sustainability and zero waste goals. You can drop off 10 or fewer electronic items at a time at any of the 280 convenient collection locations around the state. To find a collection location near your business, go to www.ecyclewashington.org and click on “Where can I recycle?” For larger quantities, please call 1-866-779-6632 ahead of time.
With product stewardship, manufacturers take responsibility for their products from “cradle to cradle,” including providing recycling programs. The result is free, convenient and responsible recycling. Since 2009, E-Cycle Washington has collected over 97 million pounds of computers and TVs for recycling. That’s about 2,200 units diverted from landfills and incinerators each and every day!
It’s good for the economy, too. E-Cycle Washington has attracted additional recyclers to the state and created close to 80 new jobs. Although electronics from large businesses are not covered by the program, the increased number of recyclers should result in more options and more competitive prices for everyone.
One thing to note: E-Cycle Washington does not currently accept printers and other peripherals. For responsible recycling options for this other equipment, you can go to e-Stewards or to www.takeitbacknetwork.org for information about Take It Back Network members. E-Stewards are certified as conforming to responsible recycling standard and Take It Back Network members have pledged to send electronics to responsible recyclers. You can contact these companies to check on their acceptance policies. Recycling fees might apply for equipment not covered by E-Cycle Washington.
While product stewardship is a relatively new idea in Washington, manufacturers provide and pay for the recycling of many products in British Columbia, Europe, and other places around the world. When manufacturers pay to take back and recycle the products they make, they have a financial incentive to design products that are less toxic, longer lasting, and more recyclable.
Suellen Mele is Zero Waste Washington’s Program Director. Zero Waste Washington advocates for the design and production of healthier, safer products that are continually recycled and reused.
Many thanks to 3R Technology for collecting our e-waste and providing access for photos.
Please note: E-Cycle Washington only accepts computers, monitors and TVs. To recycle other products like those shown in the following images, visit e-Stewards or Take It Back Network. Be sure to contact companies first to confirm fees and acceptance policies.
Photos courtesy of www.RhizomeImages.com