ST. LOUIS– Do you have a pile of old electronics sitting around and you aren’t sure what to do with them? The Consumer Electronics Association says Americans own approximately 24 electronic products per household and most contain toxins like lead, cadmium, zinc, nickel, mercury, or others.
Scott Schaffer, chief information security officer with Blade Technologies, says for most cases you don’t have to worry about those toxins unless you are disassembling equipment.
If the piece of electronics is at the end of its life, don’t just toss it in the trash. Many of the toxins contained within the electronics can escape in a landfill and seep into the ground water.
Your options include selling it, donating it, or properly e-cycling it. In Missouri, you can find a site to recycle electronics at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources site.
Schaffer says when it comes to monitors, some e-cyclers won’t take them. Also, the older CRT monitors and televisions can be especially dangerous. You should also not try to disassemble it yourself. There is lead and other toxins inside.
If you do choose to bring your item to an e-cycler ask for a certificate of destruction for any hard drives or media storage devices.
You can also wipe it clean prior to donating or e-cycling it. You can find some techniques at consumerreports.com