Electronic Waste Reuse & Recycling

Many more options exist today for locally repurposing and recycling electronic waste. Businesses can get a tax deduction for donating computers to schools.

Is your business or household expecting to replace their existing computers, laptops or televisions during the holidays?

Only a couple years ago there were just a handful of locations locally where you could take dysfunctional or working but obsolete electronics. Now there are organizations willing to repurpose used electronics, and a large number of facilities that will disassemble electronics here in Washington State and recycled the components.

E-Cycle Washington has information on donating working electronics to charity including tips on data security and resource pages with links to industry and non-profits and their refurbishing programs.

"Computers for Schools" rebuilds your old PC's to work like new and are then given to organizations and schools. The unusable parts are recycled. "To date our program has placed over 50,000 computers in schools, non-profit organizations and need-based homes proving that limited funding does not preclude access to technology."

According to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, companies that donate personal computers to schools qualify for an enhanced charitable deduction benefit. 

To dispose of electronics that are no longer functional look up a recycling location near you on the State Department of Ecology 1-800 Recycle Hotline Database. 

According to the Department of Ecology "Washington's FREE, convenient and environmentally responsible electronics recycling program has been operational since January 1, 2009. Products accepted at E-Cycle Washington drop-off sites are: computers, monitors, laptops, tablet computers, televisions and e-readers."

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Mark Phillips December 10, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Wendy - Any idea about the best way to dispose of old smoke alarms?
Wendy DiPeso December 10, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Excellent question Mark, There is more than one type of smoke detector, some contain a radioactive component. From the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program it says: "Several types of smoke detectors are available for home use. These include Ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors. An ionization detector uses a small disk of radioactive material to detect particles emitted by combustion. A photoelectric detector uses a photo sensor and light beam to detect smoke. http://www.lhwmp.org/home/YellowBook/material_detail.aspx?ItemID=W3K%2bYuin%2fio%3d What they tell you is to contact the manufacturer for instructions on returning the unit or dispose of it in the trash. Thanks to your inquiry I will be doing more research on this since I was told that most companies that transport mail are not willing to ship old smoke detectors back to the manufacturers.
Wendy DiPeso December 10, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Small Businesses can bring small quantities of hazardous waste to collection facilities. See "Small Business Hazardous Waste Disposal Program" http://www.lhwmp.org/home/BHW/sqg.aspx
Wendy DiPeso December 10, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I spoke with Mike Elsen from the Department of Health. He said they follow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations which say to dispose of smoke detectors in the trash. He explained that each detector contains only point one micro curies of radiation. If a company is disposing of quite a few detectors at once I would again refer them to King County Hazardous Waste "Small Business Hazardous Waste Disposal Program."


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