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Did you know that one ton of old computers contains more gold than seventeen tons of raw gold ore?
That makes recycling old computers and other electronics a golden opportunity to capture and reuse valuable materials.
Good for the environment: Electronics are made with valuable materials that can be recycled into new products. The U.S. EPA estimates that recycling one million computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of over 17,000 cars.
Good for our health: Electronics contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury: Keeping these toxics out of the environment protects our health. According to the U.S. EPA, 40 percent of lead and 70 percent of other toxics found in landfills — including mercury, cadmium and polybrominated flame retardants — are from electronics.
Required: Since 2010, Oregonians are prohibited by law from throwing away computers, monitors or TVs in the trash.
Oregon E-Cycles provides free recycling of computers (desktops, laptops and tablets), monitors, TVs, printers and peripherals (keyboards and mice).
Workplaces with more than 10 employees may dispose of up to seven computers, monitors or TVs at one time, but collection sites may charge for additional items. Small businesses and nonprofits with 10 or fewer employees may take more than seven (this is also true for individuals and households).
Oregon E-Cycles does not currently provide free recycling of cell phones, speakers, scanners, game consoles or other types of electronics or appliances — however, there are local recycling drop-off facilities that do accept these items.
Call Metro’s Find a Recycler hotline (503-234-3000) or use their online search tool. They can tell you the most convenient drop-off locations to your home or work.
If you have still usable computers, laptops or tablets, bring them to Free Geek, where they’ll be refurbished and donated to folks who don’t have access to new computers.
Free Geek also accepts electronics for recycling, so if you bring things they don’t want, they can still take them off your hands.