Unwanted consumer electronics - cell and smart phones, computers and monitors, televisions, DVD and MP3 players, pagers, PDAs and other devices - are the fastest-growing category of waste in Massachusetts. Until recently, Bay Staters were discarding an average of more than 900,000 units annually, but that number has increased due to the federally-mandated transition to digital television broadcasting. If you own an analog TV, there is no need to replace it right away. You can extend its useful life by purchasing a digital converter box.
When you do have a television or any other unwanted electronics to discard, remember that still-useful items can be donated to others. Non-working electronics should be recycled to prevent lead, mercury and other toxics they contain from posing health and environmental risks after disposal. Some electronics - the cathode ray tubes (CRTs) found in most computer and television screens pre-dating flat panels - are banned from Massachusetts landfills and combustion facilities.
- Goodwill Industries
Lists Goodwill Industries locations that accept donations of newer televisions and computers.
- National Cristina Foundation
Accepts donated computers to give to people with disabilities and others at risk.
- Serious Good
Partnership between Redemtech and Habitat for Humanity to provide reusable/refurbishable computers to low-income households.
iPhones and iPods. Mail-in.
- AT&T Wireless
Cell phones and PDAs, plus accessories and batteries for those devices. In-store drop-off (AT&T-operated and participating authorized dealer stores only).
- Best Buy
All stores accept desktop and notebook computers and peripherals, DVD and VCR players, small electronics, telephones, and televisions and monitors up to 32 inches. Company also offers recycling grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations.
Computers and peripherals. Free recycling of Dell-branded products at any time, and of any brand when a consumer purchases new Dell equipment.
- Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM) Co.
Free recycling of Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Quasar, Sharp, Technics, Toshiba and VIZIO televisions, DVD players, VCRs and other consumer electronics. There may be a charge for recycling other brands or products. Multiple locations in Massachusetts.
- Hewlett Packard (HP)
Cell phones, computer hardware, inkjet and laser printer cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and user-replaceable mercury-added lamp assemblies. Drop-off and mail-in.
Printers, inkjet cartridges and toner cartridges. Mostly mail-in.
- LG Electronics
Most LG, GoldStar and Zenith products, except cell phones. Consumers can recycle up to five units per day, free of charge, by dropping them off at designated Waste Management Inc. (WM) eCycling locations. Cell phones are covered under a separate program.
- Office Depot
Cell phones, computers and peripherals, cords and cables, CRT and LCD monitors, digital and video cameras, DVD and MP3 players, fax machines, inkjet and toner cartridges, pagers, PDAs, printers, rechargeable batteries, small TVs, telephones and VCRs. In-store drop-off.
- Radio Shack
Many but not all brands accepted. Cameras, camcorders, cell phones, GPS systems, laptop computers, MP3 players and video game consoles. Mail in item(s) and receive a Radio Shack gift card based on condition and value of trade-in(s).
All Samsung products. Free recycling at drop-off locations and events sponsored by Samsung, retailers and recyclers.
All Sony products. Consumers can recycle up to five units per day, free of charge, by dropping them off at designated Waste Management Inc. (WM) eCycling locations.
Cell phones, inkjet and toner cartridges, pagers, PDAs and rechargeable batteries. In-store drop-off.
Cell phones, accessories, batteries and connection cards that are no longer being used. In-store drop-off and mail-in.
Trade in used cell phones, smart phones, tablets and more for a gift card redeemable at more than 1,400 participating Target stores and on the company's web site. In-store drop-off and mail-in.
Cell phones, accessories, batteries and PDAs. In-store drop-off and mail-in.
- Earth 911: Recycling In Your Community
Search for local programs by ZIP Code and/or the item you want to recycle.
- Greener Gadgets
Find more environmentally-friendly products and learn how to recycle old, unwanted units on this industry-sponsored web site.
- eCycling Central
Find reuse, recycling and donation programs on this site sponsored by electronics and high-tech companies.
- Go Wireless, Go Green
Industry-supported web site connecting consumers to donation opportunities, mail-back programs and an online auction for selling old mobile phones.
- Health Care Without Harm
Learn about the health effects of lead, mercury and other toxics found in consumer electronics.
- Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp.
Industry-supported national program provides for recycling of rechargeable batteries that are commonly found in camcorders, cellular and cordless phones, cordless power tools, digital cameras, laptop computers and remote control toys.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Plug-In to eCycling
Partnership between EPA and electronics manufacturers to give consumers more donation and recycling opportunities.
Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) - found in many television and computer monitor screens - have been banned from Massachusetts solid waste disposal and transfer facilities since April 2000.