Haverford Township Information Center - Courtesy of 4th Ward Commissioner Dan Siegel

Recycling Computers, Batteries,
Cell Phones & Other Tough Items

The Township and I receive many calls asking about ways to recycle computers, electronics and other "difficult" items - rather than dumping them in the trash and polluting the landfills.

There are some great ideas for dealing with recycling, including some terrific projects at this website sponsored by the O. Berk Company - just click here.

The O. Berk Company also offers some great ways to deal with plastic bags - just click here.

I have discovered some websites that accept PCs and other electronics, which you may wish to consider. They are:

Verizon Wireless Trade In Your Cell Phone

Earth 911 - A  Searchable Database for Various Recyclables

Best Buy Electronics Trade-In

Best Buy Recycling

BuyBack World

Call 2 Recycle (Rechargable Batteries & Cell Phones)

Dell Recycling (For Dell Items Only)

Dell EZ Trade-In (For All Brand Products)

Ebay Instant Sale

Gazelle (Cash for Gadgets, Etc.)

Next Worth

Plastic Bags

YouRenew

In addition, below is an article from the October 9, 2009 Philadelphia Inquirer (found at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/63830662.html) with some helpful tips about how to dispose of tough items.

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Recycler's guide to tough items
Reprinted from http://www.philly.com/philly/home/63830662.html

How do you deal with tires, TVs, or your old toilet? Here's where you can take them to keep them out of the landfill.

You're committed to curbside recycling. Now, how do you tackle the tough stuff? Check out these solutions for seven hard-to-recycle items.

1. Appliances

Freezing out inefficient models reaps cool rewards.

Most appliances can be tricky to dispose of properly. Refrigerators and freezers in particular are required by law to be properly recycled because of their hazardous components.

Best Steps: If you're replacing an old refrigerator, first check with your local utility. Just by getting rid of an inefficient but functioning model, you may qualify for a rebate and free removal. If your refrigerator doesn't work, contact your local waste management facility to have it picked up, usually for a fee. Another option: When you buy a new refrigerator or other appliance, some retailers, including Best Buy and Lowe's (select stores), will haul away your old one and send it to a recycling facility.

2. Tires

Local efforts promote a smooth ride nationwide.

Piles of tires can pose problems from excessive landfill consumption to mosquito breeding grounds.

Best Steps: Ask about recycling when you replace your old tires. Regulations in all but two states (Delaware and Alaska) keep scrap tires out of the landfill, so it's common for retailers to contract with recyclers. They'll turn tires into rubber crumbs that become new products such as outdoor surfacing. If you have a tire at home, contact your local waste management service. Be prepared to take it to a disposal facility and pay a fee.

3. Electronics

It's prime time for refurbishing programs.

Unwanted TVs, computers, and other common electronics (known as e-waste) are perhaps today's biggest concern because of the increasing volume and limitations. Metal and glass pieces can be removed, but what's left piles up in landfills and leeches toxins into the ground.

Best Steps: Now required in some states, some manufacturers and retailers have mail-in or drop-off programs for their own products. The best course for a newer computer is to donate it for refurbishing. For options, see electronicstakeback.com or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Plug-in to eCycling" program (epa.gov/ecycling). And with all electronics, ask yourself, "Do I really need a newer model?"

4. Mattresses

There's no overnight solution for giving your old softie a new life.

With only a few mattress recycling facilities in the United States, this is one of the more problematic categories. Springs are recyclable, but there's not a big market for the other components. The store where you purchase your new mattress may offer to take your old one, but it could still go to the landfill.

Best Steps: You may be able to donate your old mattress to a shelter, but probably not a charity that handles resale, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Consider giving it one last shot at being used through freecycle.org - an online exchange that offers a variety of items, all for free.

5. Carpet

Consumer interest helps lay it on the line.

The mix of materials in carpet makes it difficult and costly to separate in the recycling process, but the desire to address the problem is evident. More than 243 million pounds of carpet were recycled last year, according to the Carpet America Recovery Effort or CARE (carpetrecovery.org).

Best Steps: Currently, carpet recycling is handled commercially, so ask your local retailer if your old carpet will be recycled when your new flooring is installed.

6. Toilets

After the flush comes the crush.

Water-guzzling toilets threaten the environment even after they've been replaced with new efficient models when they're sent to the landfill.

Best Steps: Though available only in limited areas, independent recyclers salvage old toilets for their replacement parts (such as lids) and crush the leftovers. Porcelain chips can be used for road paving; they've also found their way into composite countertops. Eventually, toilet recycling is sure to become widespread; for now, check with your local waste management division for disposal procedures.

7. Shoes

A solution for downtrodden sneakers becomes a runaway success.

One old pair of athletic shoes may be the least of your recycling worries. But if you could help keep millions of pairs out of the landfill, wouldn't it be worth the effort?

Best Steps: Donate wearable shoes of any kind to a local charity or to an organization such as soles4souls.org. Take worn-out athletic shoes (any brand) to a Nike store or one of its other collection sites. Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program is responsible for recycling the rubber, foam, and fabric from more than 23 million pairs of shoes into various types of surfacing, such as playground material. For details, see nikereuseashoe.com.

8. Batteries

Home Depot will accept the Ni-Cad batteries from power tools for recycling.

The following batteries MUST go the Hazardous Waste Drop-Off: Rechargeable, Lithium and Button Batteries.

9. Propane Tanks

Spillers at 2107 Sproul Road, Broomall (610-356-1002) and Home Depot will accept propane tanks for recycling.

10. Flourescent Bulbs

Flourescent bulbs must be taken to the Hazardous Waste Drop-Off.

The new compact flourescent bulbs may may taken to Home Depot.

Label Lessons for New Purchases

When you buy carpet made from plastic bottles or doormats made from tires, you're helping "close the loop" on waste. Look for labels that indicate a product contains recycled content. Post-consumer content (materials that otherwise would have been thrown away) is thought to be greener than preconsumer content, which refers to waste collected during manufacturing. Products labeled recyclable have the most meaning when they're necessary purchases or have a short life span. For example, it's more important to be able to recycle a glass food jar than a vase.

Recycling Resources

To locate recycling services in your area, visit earth911.com (now also available as an iPhone app) or 1800recycling.com.

Because reuse is even better than recycling, consider posting your unwanted items on freecycle.org or the free section (under "for sale") of craigslist.org. Check each site's terms for allowable items.

Keep up on recycling news and facts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.energystar.gov/recycle), the National Recycling Coalition (www.nrc-recycle.org), and nonprofit recycler Eco-Cycle (www.eco-cycle.org)

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