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Recycling Electronic Devices

January 1, 2002

in All Articles,Culture,Miscellaneous

Hurling your malfunctioning computer into a lake may seem cathartic. A hilarious scene from the movie Office Space details a copy machine’s destruction by baseball bat. Calling your old TV a “boat anchor” is always fun in theory. But these devices (along with cellphones, batteries and most other electronics) contain massive amounts of mercury and lead. Keep these poisonous metals out of our landfills and water supplies by disposing of them properly. Also, taking them to a recycling service allows them to be either reused or broken down into usable parts.

Computers and Electronics

We buy our major electronics rarely. When we do, how do we get rid of the old equipment? Our options for that big hunk of useless plastic and metal are to recycle, donate or resell.

Drop off almost any equipment for free at the Kent County Recycling Facility. Anything resembling TVs, computers, monitors, printers, cellphones, DVD players, VHS recorders and video games are among the permitted items.

If the electronics are still working, do the American thing and grab a tax deduction. Goodwill will take and resell most working electronics while allowing you to claim the item as a charitable donation.

And don’t forget about eBay. You’ll be amazed at the items people purchase. Not too long ago, a cheese sandwich – supposedly showing an image of the Virgin Mary – sold for $28,000. If that can sell, so can your decade-old computer.

There are a couple of nationwide organizations that help you recycle, or eseentially donating old equipment to those who could recycle or make use out of in in some way. For recycling and “recycle for cash back” services, try O2 (UK-based) and Freecycle.


MP3 players, phones and those new Christmas presents make dead batteries multiply faster than rabbits on Spring Break. Your nearest Batteries Plus location won’t accept rabbits, but will accept most battery types free of charge. See their store locator at Or use the search tool at to find nearby recycling centers for rechargeable batteries.

Ink Cartridges

Anyone with a printer buys ink for it constantly. The old cartridges usually go into the trash, but what if someone offered you money for each cartridge? The folks at Inkjets4Half do just that. Depending on your printer usage, getting a dollar per cartridge could add up fast. Or if you’re willing to recycle to decrease waste and help the environment, give your old cartridges to Office Depot for free recycling.

The components listed above are among most commonly trashed electronics in this age of disposable technology. Though recycling centers are everywhere and can be found easily with a little research, it’s too easy to just throw something away and forget about it. The kick in the pants that people may need is a reason to recycle. It doesn’t even have to be about making the environment happy. We can also help others benefit from what we no longer need.

Readers Respond

There was confusion about the Kent County Recycling Facility mentioned above. There are actually three different locations for this service, and each location allows different items to be recycled:

Kent County Recycling Facility
322 Bartlett
phone 616-336-2501
North Kent Transfer Station
2908 10 Mile Road
phone 616-866-5070
South Kent Landfill
300 100th Street
phone 616-877-4092

The Bartlett location is the only one that’s very open about what they’ll accept. The listing included computers, keyboards, mice, printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, VCRs, DVDs, stereos, video games, and any size TV set.

The 100th Street and 10 Mile locations are more restricted. They’ll accept computer equipment like PCs and printers, and other smaller consumer electronics like fax machines and TV sets smaller than 19 inches. Before your delivery, call them to verify they’ll accept your recyclables.

Readers respond

I recently received an email from Samantha Liddiard, representing Kent County Electronics Recycling. In it, she contradicts what I’ve written above, indicating more items are actually accepted at the Kent County recycling locations. She says:

All three sites accept the same items, anything with an electronic or circuit board.

See more information on our website:

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