Nearly 30 states now have some kind of statewide electronic waste recycling program to make it easier for businesses and individual consumers to safely dispose of electronic devices. Most materials used to make today’s electronics can be recycled using a variety of innovative technologies. For example, cellphones contain gold, silver and other precious metals that can be recovered and reused.

To make one standard desktop computer (monitor, tower and keyboard), manufacturers need nearly 550 pounds of fossil fuels, over a ton of water and almost 50 pounds of assorted chemicals. Fortunately, state-of-the-art recycling companies can extract reusable materials from cellphones, computers and other digital devices before disposing of them in a way that does not harm the environment.

Even more reasons for states to establish viable electronic waste recycling programs include:

  • Recycling/reusing computers will create nearly 300 jobs every year compared to zero jobs created by disposing of electronics in landfills.
  • U.S. citizens discard over $50 billion in ewaste annually. That amount is more than gross domestic products of dozens of countries.
  • Hundreds of thousands of pounds of copper, palladium, gold and silver can be recovered by recycling one million cell phones. The current estimate of cell phone users in the U.S. is around 300 million.

With numerous options available for donating or recycling unwanted electronics, landfills should no longer contain even one electronic device. States with statewide ewaste recycling programs generally have two models they follow for disposal of ewaste:

  • Extended manufacturer responsibility model: makers of electronics take responsibility for paying to pick up and recycle products.
  • Advanced recycling fee model: in states adopting this model, a statewide fund is established for recycling electronics by having consumers pay stores a fee when they buy an electronic device. At this time, California is the only state enacting this exact model

Statewide Electronic Waste Recycling Programs in Virginia

Virginia’s Senate Bill 218 instructs the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide annual documents detailing recycling rates. To optimize report data, the DEQ is in constant contact with community recycling managers, solid waste program units and recycling companies to provide beneficial input.

Local recycling coordinators who are in charge of collecting discarded electronics work with area businesses to facilitate placement of drop-off containers and curbside and/or on-demand collection programs.

According to the Virginia DEQ, the most common recyclable materials disposed of by Virginia residents and businesses include:

  • Paper products
  • Metal items (tin cans, aluminum)
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Textiles
  • Batteries
  • Construction/demolition waste
  • Ewaste (cell phones, laptops, TVs, CD players)
  • Auto bodies/tires/used oil

Statewide Ewaste Recycling Programs in Washington D.C.

The Washington D.C. Department of Public Works provides guidelines to consumers on what to do to stop the release of toxic materials into the environment. The website has a list of accepted and prohibited items their recycling program accepts. Electronics accepted include:

  • Camcorders
  • DVD/CDs
  • Computers/monitors
  • Cell phones/smart phones
  • Fax and copy machines
  • Hard drives/floppy drives
  • PDAs
  • Printers
  • Scrap computer plastic and metal
  • Tablets
  • Televisions
  • Video game software

The DPW further reminds residents that safely disposing lithium batteries or batteries larger than nine volts involves placing two layers of masking tape over battery terminals. Alternately, flat button batteries can be wrapped in layers of tape to prevent leakage of toxic substances.

Washington D.C. residents can take unwanted ewaste for recycling to the Fort Totten Transfer Station on Saturdays between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Contact Potomac eCycle for Pickup Service of Electronic Waste

Potomac eCycle will come to your business and remove electronic devices you no longer want or need for recycling or proper disposal purposes. We are an R2/RIOS™-certified, electronic recycling company that also provides compliant hard drive data destruction of sensitive company information. Call us today to learn more about our recycling services or to schedule pickup of discarded electronic devices.

statewide ewaste recycling programs

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