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Sustainability at Work

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Phone: 503-823-7037

Email: sustainabilityatwork@portlandoregon.gov

How to recycle old computers, phones, and other gadgets

electronics in recycling bin graphicThere’s gold in those laptops!

Q) Which has more gold and copper?
        a. circuit boards 
        b. raw ore mined for these metals
A) Circuit boards!

Circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper as the equivalent weight of ore mined in the US.

In addition, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,657 US homes for a year [1].

Want to learn more? Check out the short video, The Story of Electronics.

How to start recycling electronics at your workplace:small electronics recycling poster thumbnail

  1. Set up collection area.
    • Find an empty box.
    • Place box in easy to access area.
    • Label the box with a poster about microelectronics recycling.
  2. Decide where your business will take microelectronics.
  3. Create a plan for who will take the microelectronics when the collection box fills.
  4. Let coworkers know about microelectronics recycling, and show them the collection box.

Donate vs. Recycle

Donate

Many electronics can be donated, refurbished and used again.

Where to go? Free Geek!

  • Call to ensure they can accept your e-waste: 503-232-9350
  • Donations to Free Geek are tax deductible and pickups can be arranged for a small fee.

Recycle

Broken or unusable electronics can be recycled and component parts made into something else.

Where to go?

Third-party certification, such as e-Stewards certification, ensures environmentally sound and humane recycling practices.

Removing personal or sensitive information:

To remove personal or sensitive information before donating or recycling your electronics,

  • Call Metro at 503-234-3000 for options to have data removed.
  • Free Geek takes data security very seriously: all data containing gadgets are either wiped clean using Department of Defense standards or are destroyed (safely) on-site.

tvs, computers, pritners, scannersLarger electronics

Contact Oregon E-Cycles for free drop-off locations for

  • Personal computers, monitors, laptops and tablets
  • Computer peripherals – keyboards and mice
  • TVs, including VHS or DVD/TV combos
  • Printers, fax machines and large scanners

According to Oregon E-Cycles’ website: Participating recyclers must meet DEQ's Environmental Management Practices. The practices ensure electronics are recycled in a way that protects human health and the environment.

These must be recycled separately:

Learn more

EPA's FAQs on e-waste