Electronics recycling is so important, yet people don’t always understand how to recycle items. Plus, about half of the states in the U.S. do not have regulations in place, which adds to the confusion.

When your old cellphone, laptop, smart speaker, tablet, or other electronic device is no longer viable, don’t put it in the trash. It’s actually illegal to do so in some areas. Instead, learn more about nationwide electronics initiatives that partner with the nation’s leading e-waste recycling company ERI.

Battery Drop-Offs

Many hardware and home improvement stores like Ace, Lowes, and Home Depot offer rechargeable battery drop-off bins through a partnership with Call2Recycle. People can bring their dead batteries to a location, find the recycling bin within the store, and recycle them in the appropriate compartment. Some stores also accept single-use batteries, though it varies from one location to the next.

ERI partners with Call2Recycle to recycle the batteries responsibly and safely so that the materials can be reused to make new products. This helps stop the depletion of raw materials from mines around the world.

Best Buy Haul Away

A couple of years ago, Best Buy established a haul away service through a partnership with ERI. For just under $200, a Best Buy truck will come to your home and haul away your unwanted electronics. There’s a limit of two major electronics, such as a large-screen TV and an over-the-stove microwave, and unlimited smaller ones.

With this pick-up service, it’s a handy way to get rid of years of broken phones, laptops, tablets, printers, desktops, etc. all at the same time. They’ll go to ERI for processing.

Local E-Waste Recycling Events

ERI partners with communities for e-waste recycling. Instead of having to package your electronics and ship them to a processing center, you bring them to the recycling event for quick and convenient drop-off recycling. 

It’s a great way to clear out a number of items at once. You have peace of mind knowing they’re being recycled properly with a company that cares about people’s safety, data safety regulations, and the environment.

MRM Takeback Programs

MRM stands for “Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management) and it’s one of the best ways to encourage recycling. When you  have an electronic device, such as a phone or laptop, the manufacturer takes it back. ERI is a key player in manufacturer takeback programs.

Many manufacturers provide free shipping labels you can print out to send broken or unwanted electronics back to the company that made them. Once the manufacturer has them, they send them in bulk to ERI for processing. 

If items still have value, they can have their data wiped, be repaired, and sold as a refurbished product. Any usable parts can be saved. The rest is recycled for the materials that are used to make new products.

The list of manufacturer takeback programs that use ERI for processing is very long and includes these major companies.

  • Bosch
  • Dremel
  • Dynex
  • Eastman Kodak
  • Emerson
  • Insignia
  • Kindle
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nook
  • Toshiba

The best way to start is by looking at the product you need to recycle. The manufacturer’s website will have information on recycling and manufacturer takeback programs. You might have to ship it back from a UPS location or store, or you might find they have a local drop-off center.

OneDrum™ Battery Collection

Transporting a massive number of rechargeable batteries can be risky business as they could touch terminals or rupture and cause a fire. ERI came up with an all-in-one battery recycling drum for shipping mixed battery types without having to tape the terminals or separate them.

When lithium is in a warehouse, truck, or building that’s on fire, firefighters cannot use water. Water will lead to explosions, so special materials are used. This is why the transportation of lithium batteries is so risky. OneDrum™ helps workers get batteries safely from a warehouse to a processing facility.

The drums contain CellBlockEX®, an environmentally-friendly fire protection agent that uses recycled glass in the creation of it. If something does go wrong, CellBlockEX® suppresses any fire, smoke, or heat to prevent potential catastrophes.

Store Drop-Off

If you have a retailer such as Best Buy, Goodwill, or Staples nearby, you can bring electronics to those retailers for recycling. There is a limit on how many you can bring in at once, but if you make a monthly drip and drop off a number at each store, you’ll get rid of unwanted electronics in little time, and they’re processed by a responsible e-waste company.

These are the general limits, though it can vary by location so it’s best to call and ask.

  • Best Buy – 3 items per day, per household
  • Goodwill – 7 items per visit
  • Staples – 6 items per day, only 1 item counts for rewards points for recycling

Tips for Recycling Your Electronics

When you recycle your e-waste locally or with an online retailer, you want to make sure you’re recycling responsibly. You need to ask a few questions.

Where Does the E-Waste Go?

When you recycle your items, where do they go? Is it processed in the U.S. or is it shipped to an impoverished country where the standards may not be as strict. If the e-waste is going to end up polluting streams, the air, or soil, recycling isn’t benefiting people or the environment at all. 

You want to look for an e-waste company that processes everything in the U.S. One way to ensure this is by checking for the e-Stewards certificate. You’ll find a list of current e-waste processors who are e-Stewards certified at e-stewards.org/current-processors. You might be surprised by who isn’t on the list but handles a lot of U.S. e-waste. It’s alarming.

Do You Have Any Certifications?

We’ve covered the benefits of choosing a company that’s e-Stewards certified. You should also look for an e-waste company who has these certifications.

  • AICPA SOC 2 Type II – Focused on strict standards for security and data protection.
  • ISO 9001 – Consistent services that meet a customer’s needs and regulations.
  • ISO 14001 – A framework is in place to ensure a quality environmental management system (EMS).
  • ISO 45001 – Ensures the health (mental and physical) and safety risks for workers
  • NAID AAA – Proves compliance with all data protection laws.
  • R2 – Ensures that an e-waste company builds and maintains environmental, health, safety, and security practices when recycling e-waste

Is There a Local Drop-Off?

Look for local drop-off points when possible. It’s much easier to drop off used electronics when you’re heading to Best Buy, Goodwill, or Staples than it is to get to your local recycling facility during their limited hours.

ERI holds all of those certifications, and we have locations in close to a dozen cities. Our e-waste program is carefully designed to protect the environment, our employees, and the people living around the processing facilities. We take care to ensure data is destroyed following the laws applicable to your business, whether it’s a retailer or hospital.