New Online System Streamlines Easy e-Waste Collection

electronics piled up photo

Photo via CP via Flickr Creative Commons

E-waste is a difficult problem when it comes to keeping it out of waste streams. Unlike typical recycling with a blue bin offered in practically every city, e-waste can be much more of a hassle to make sure it ends up in the right place for proper recycling. But a new system in California could prove to be a great example for streamlining collection that other areas in the US can mimic. A quick and easy online database of drop-off locations shows you what you can recycle, where to recycle it, and soon there will be a drop-off within 10 miles of your household. "Our consumer research showed us that the biggest barrier to recycling for most was time and proximity. So we set ourselves a goal: to establish an ecollective drop-off location within 10 miles of most households in America," said Jim Taggart, president of ECS Refining in a press release.

Between a goal like this from eCollective and goals of electronics manufacturers to step up the number of collection sites where consumers can take in products, it should become nearly as easy to recycle e-waste as the big blue bin in your backyard makes recycling glass and plastics. Dell is working hard with Goodwill to provide easy drop-off locations, Samsung has boosted their number of locations from about 100 in 2008 to about 1100 today. And now there's eCollective.

The website has a long list of gadgets they'll accept for recycling, and they're run by ECS Refining, which is vetted by eStewards as a responsible recycler. So while we still have to be diligent in finding out for sure what happens to our gadgets, the company behind eCollective has shown itself to be highly responsible.

By creating an easy network of collection sites and partners, eCollective is doing something we hope will spread from California to other states -- free, no-effort recycling of electronics that can help boost our e-cycling rates from around 14% to 100% where it should be.

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