For most of us, if we think about e-waste, or electronic waste, we tend to think of things like batteries or phones.
But the truth is that e-waste comes in all shapes and sizes.
Typically, when most people think of e-waste they have in mind items such as their old cell phones, dead batteries, out-dated mp3 players and the like. But, really, that’s just the small stuff. In fact, a huge amount of our e-waste comes in large sizes!
While it is true that the bulk of what we know as e-waste is made up of cell phones and other mobile devices, there are a number of old electronic items that are far larger and are still prime candidates for ecycling.
Printers, Scanners and Stoves, Oh My!
While there is no clear (or "official") dividing line between small e-waste items and large items, there is a general rule of thumb that can be used.
According to organizations such as CalRecycle, it's generally safe to say that any electronic device larger than a laptop or a PC tower could be labeled as a large e-waste item.
In fact, while we tend to think mostly of devices, e-waste is also made up of components and large appliances and equipment. Website information from UCSC points out that,
“Examples of electronic waste include, but are not limited to: TVs, computer monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, circuit boards, lamps, clocks, flashlights, calculators, phones, answering machines, digital/video cameras, radios, VCRs, DVD players, MP3 and CD players.”
The reality of e-waste is that any of the items are relatively large. This includes appliances such as microwaves, bread machines, and robotic vacuum cleaners. These all have electronic and digital components just like many personal digital devices. Common office equipment like computer monitors, printers, scanners and copiers are all electronic devices.
When it comes to proper disposal with these types of electronics, part of the problem is their sheer size or bulk. Not only is there still some confusion around what can be properly called a large e-waste item, according to CalRecycle, even the term “E-Waste” is still not clearly defined,
“The term "E-Waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. There is no clear definition for E-Waste; for instance whether or not items like microwave ovens and other similar "appliances" should be grouped into the category has not been established.”
Because so many household appliances are now computerized and capable of being networked, they are made with the electronic components that constitute e-waste when being disposed of. And, because of their size, they can be considered large e-waste items, as well.
The sheer size and bulk of many of these items can be a particular challenge for businesses, schools and other organizations that need to dispose of office equipment and other large electronic devices. With the rise of the Internet and dedicated networks within workplaces, schools and other places, many office machines have evolved into high tech versions.
But they are still large and bulky.
Whether it's in an office, a manufacturing plant or an industrial kitchen, almost all commercial equipment now has computerized capabilities. In addition to the benefit of connectivity and "smart" functionality, this also means electronic components. And this typically means circuit boards, micro switches and other components that are made with heavy metals and other toxic materials.
Because these devices all have electronics, including many high-tech components that are also found in phones, portable devices and similar items, they likely contain toxic elements such as mercury, cadmium and beryllium among others.
Consequently, these large e-waste items cannot be disposed of in a traditional manner. In other words, when the office copier finally dies it can't just be thrown in the commercial dumpster behind the loading dock! And this goes for the printers, the fax machines, the monitors and computers, and maybe even the office coffee maker and microwave!
Recycling and Large E-Waste Disposal
Not every component that makes up a large e-waste item is completely recyclable. However, there are still large amounts of materials in them that certainly can be recovered, reused or at least efficiently disposed of.
No matter how large the unit is, recycling, repurposing or reusing any e-waste item is always preferable to dumping them or taking them to the local landfill. And, if fact, many of these items are not accepted in some disposal facilities. Because of both the potential threat of toxic waste contamination and the potential loss of valuable resources, many states and locales have laws and regulations stipulating how e-waste disposal is managed.
CalRecycle, for example, actively promotes the practice of “reduce, reuse, recycle” for all types of large electronics and large E-Waste disposal needs.
They define this as follows:
- Reduce your generation of E-Waste through smart procurement and good maintenance.
- Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can use it.
- Recycle those products that cannot be repaired.
Reuse of older, large electronics is far easier than you might think. Of course, re-selling used equipment is a practice that has been around for a long time and there are numbers of channels available for selling used copiers, printers, fax machines, and so on to other businesses and organizations.
Donating these items is also a great option. There are vast numbers of entities that could benefit from the gift of working copiers, scanners, phone systems, computers and any number of other large, equipment and appliances.
So what's the best way to donate your unwanted large electronics? If you don't already have a group, school or organization in mind you can check out these resources to help you donate:
Goodwill Industries International is one of the world's largest nonprofit organizations and accepts donated items and sells them at substantial discounts through a network of retail stores. They will take office equipment as well as reusable household items, jewelry, toys, and clothing.
iLoveSchools.com is a free donor-matching service that helps teachers find the supplies they need similar to other sites like DonorsChoose.org. You can locate teachers through the website using the WishList search if you want your office equipment to stay within your community.
The Freecycle Network is a nonprofit organization and free Internet service that allows people to offer items they no longer need for free to others who need them. You can join by visiting their website and then locate the list that serves your geographic area.
One of the best things about any e-waste disposal, including large electronics, is that you don't have to do it by yourself.
Your Source For Large E-Waste Disposal Service
No matter how big your stuff is, or how small, you can count on Junk King to provide an efficient, safe and eco-friendly e-waste removal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of those old items.
Not only that, but we make sure that your old electronics end up in the right place: whether it be a charity if the electronics are still functioning, or a recycling facility to ensure your e-waste is disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
We will pick up and haul away almost all types of e-waste, including:
Ready to remove those old electronics? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).
Our professional and insured e-waste removal team will show up at your home or office. We call 15 minutes before we arrive on site and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck. You point and we haul those items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.