Here’s some holiday news you can truly use–three different ways to protect your family along with the environment at this time of year.
First, if someone in your household got that new e-reader, laptop or television on the holiday wish list, you may be tempted to just trash the old electronic equipment that it replaces.
Before you do, however, did you know there’s a way to make sure the electronics you replace are reused or recycled rather than tossed in the garbage?
The E-Cycle Washington program provides free recycling for unwanted TVs, computers, monitors, and e-readers. Through E-cycle, many fully functional computers and TVs get a second life through sales at charities or through donations.
At the end of December, Washington’s E-Cycle program for electronics recycling is 3 years old. The Department of Ecology estimates this year’s collection total will be 41 million pounds—a record high for a year’s collection of TVs, computers and monitors turned in by consumers for recycling.
In King County, the total was 14.19 million pounds. In Pierce County, the estimated total as of November was 3.96 million pounds. (To see how other counties did, check out the attached pdf.)
In all, the three-year total for the program will be about 119 million pounds. That translates to:
- 5.9 pounds of recycled electronics per person per year.
- A saving of more than 1.8 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy--equivalent to conserving more than 16,000 households’ annual energy consumption, or more than 300,000 barrels of oil.
Before E-Cycle Washington existed, many electronics went into our landfills, taking with them resources such as metals that could be recycled, and toxics such as lead that can eventually pollute our environment and threaten human health. The result was a potential mountain of wasted resources with toxic run-off. If you think your TV won’t contribute to this mess, think again. Televisions make up a major portion of the total electronics turned in for recycling–some 64 percent.
Perhaps the best part about the E-Cycle Washington program is that it’s free to use–at least for you, the consumer. The program is funded entirely by the manufacturers of these electronics, making it a prime example of a cooperative business/government effort that is making a difference for the environment and for consumers.
If your household recently upgraded to flat-screen TVs and new computer monitors, and you need to get rid of your old items, look here to find one of the 275 E-Cycle Washington drop-off locations or services near you: E-Cycle Washington Website.
Watch those batteries
As a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, you may be interested in other holiday information that Ecology and the Department of Health recently provided to Washington consumers, like watching out for those small button batteries that come in so many products. DOH has some great advice about the health and safety threats that certain gift products pose, especially for children.
Toxic free tips
Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program offers Toxic Free Tips year-round. These tips help you protect kids from toxic materials, address product safety, offer advice on safely disposing of toxic materials and more.
Armed with this information, enjoy the remaining holiday season with the people you love.