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Recycle Your Electronics!


Electronics contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium.  Electronic products containing a cathode ray tube (CRT) may not be placed in the garbage (Minnesota Statutes §115A.9565). 

The solution? Recycle your electronics! Convenient, easy and affordable electronics recycling options are available for household electronics including:

  • Televisions
  • Computers: central processing units (CPUs), monitors, laptops
  • Computer keyboards, speakers, printers, and other peripherals
  • VCRs and DVD players
  • Fax machines

Other electronics, such as cell phones and stereos, can also be recycled.
To find electronics recycling options, visit RethinkRecycling.com, your go-to-guide for waste and recycling in the Twin Cities.

Recycling Facts:
To manufacture one computer and monitor, it takes 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water; totaling more than the weight of a rhinoceros.

In 2005, US households generated 2.6 million tons of electronics waste. Only 12.6% of this amount was recycled, according to the EPA.

Top Questions from Residents on Electronics Recycling

  1. Why can’t I put my TV or computer in the garbage?
    As of July 1, 2006, electronic products containing a cathode ray tube (CRT) may not be placed in the garbage (Minnesota Statutes §115A.9565).  A CRT contains 2 to 8 pounds of lead.  Most TVs and computer monitors contain a CRT and must be recycled.  Recycling keeps TVs, computer monitors, and other electronics out of the garbage and conserves natural resources, and prevents harm to public health and the environment.  Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find electronics recycling options.

  2. My county told me I need to recycle my electronic waste.  What is considered electronic waste?
    Electronics waste, or e-waste, is any waste that has a circuit board or a cathode ray tube (CRT).  Minnesota’s 2007 electronics recycling law specifically addresses the following electronic devices from households:
    • Televisions
    • Computers: central processing units (CPUs), monitors, laptops
    • Computer keyboards, speakers, printers, and other peripherals
    • VCRs and DVD players
    • Fax machines

Other electronics, such as cell phones and stereos, can also be recycled but are not addressed in Minnesota’s 2007 electronics recycling law.  Materials accepted for recycling vary by option and location.  Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find electronics recycling options. 

  1. What are my options for recycling my electronic waste?
    Recycling options for household electronics available to Twin Cities metro-area residents include:
    • Take-back programs - Some manufacturers and retailers will take back your old electronics for recycling.
    • Garbage haulers - Some haulers pick up electronics for recycling.
    • Recycling companies - You can drop off your old electronics at a recycler. Some recyclers pick up electronics for recycling.
    • Government recycling programs - Your city, county, or neighborhood may pick up electronics or offer drop-off sites.

Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find information on these options.

  1. Will someone pick up my electronic waste at home?
    Some companies offer pick-up of electronics waste at the curb or in the home.  A fee may be charged for the pick-up. Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find a list of electronics recycling companies that offer pick-up service.  Also, some garbage haulers offer pick-up of electronics waste. Contact your hauler to find out if this service is available. When you contact a recycling company or garbage hauler, be sure to ask if the pick-up is at the curb or in the home to make sure the service will meet your needs.
  1. Do I have to pay to recycle my electronic waste?
    There may be a fee to recycle household electronics waste, depending on the specific recycling option you choose.  A fee may be charged to recycle some kinds or brands of electronics waste, while others may be accepted at no charge.  A fee may also be charged for additional services such as data destruction, pick-up or mail-in.  Refer to specific recycling options for details on service and fees.  Some options are available at no charge.

    Fees collected for electronics recycling pay for expenses such as transportation of electronics waste, training and labor for disassembly of electronics, and proper disposal of hazardous components.
  1. How do I protect my security when I recycle my electronics?
    • Prior to deleting personal information, backup or transfer any data you may need.
    • Remove the data on the hard-disk drives and any other storage devices in the products.
    • Remove media, such as diskettes, CDs, or PC cards.

You can purchase a disk cleaning utility for your computer or choose a recycler that provides data destruction services.  Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find recyclers that offer data destruction.

  1. Can I donate my old electronics somewhere?
    There are many donation programs available for old cell phones.  Many of these programs benefit charities.  Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find more information. 

    For other items, some local charities may accept usable electronics – call first.  Residents may also consider posting unwanted, usable electronics on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle.  Just because you no longer want it, doesn't mean someone else can't use it!
  1. I have a computer from my business that I need to recycle.   Does that matter?

    Recycling options for electronics waste from businesses are available; however, businesses must not use programs designated for recycling of household electronics waste.  For information on electronics recycling options for businesses, visit RethinkRecycling.com.
  1. How will I know that my electronics will be properly recycled?

    To ensure proper recycling of household electronic waste, select a recycler or collector that is registered with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Under Minnesota’s 2007 electronics recycling law, recyclers must register and certify that they:
    • Comply with health, environmental, safety and financial regulations;
    • Be licensed with governmental authorities;
    • Use no prison labor to recycle; and
    • Possess liability insurance of not less than $1,000,000.

Ask your e-waste collector or recycler how and where they manage the hazardous components found in electronics, such as CRTs, fluorescent lamps, batteries and circuit boards.  Visit RethinkRecycling.com to find a list of registered household electronic waste collectors and recyclers in the Twin Cities metro-area.

  1. What is the digital TV (DTV) transition on February 17, 2009 and how does it affect my current TV?

    The switch from analog to digital broadcast television is referred to as the digital TV (DTV) transition. Broadcast stations in all U.S. markets are currently broadcasting in both analog and digital. After February 17, 2009, full-power television stations will broadcast in digital only. Analog TVs Will Need Additional Equipment to Receive Over-the-Air Television When the DTV Transition Ends. Consumers who rely on antennas (including outside antennas and "rabbit ears") to receive broadcast signals on TV sets having only analog tuners will need to obtain separate digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on analog TVs. Analog sets connected to such converter boxes will display digital broadcasts, but not necessarily in the full, original digital quality.

    Between January 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is responsible for administering the coupon program. More information can be found at www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/dtv/dtvcoupon.html.
    Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products.
    For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital television website at: www.dtv.gov.

  2. Where can I learn more about recycling electronics?
    For information on electronics recycling in the Twin Cities metro-area, visit RethinkRecycling.com.  RethinkRecycling.com is your go-to guide for waste and recycling in the Twin Cities. 

    For information on electronics recycling outside the Twin Cities metro area, visit www.pca.state.mn.us/electronics.


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Page Modified: March 14, 2014 12:27 PM

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