Electronics Recycling What You Should and Shouldn’t Recycle

Electronics recycling is the ideal option for individuals and companies looking to dispose of their unwanted electronics in an environmentally responsible manner. Nevertheless, not all outdated machinery can be recycled and reused without risk.


The Definition of Electronic Waste

E-waste refers to any obsolete electronic product for personal or business use. The difficulty with this term is that it may describe any outdated technological device. That makes it harder for people and organizations to know how to properly dispose of their electronic garbage.

In some cases, e-waste disposal might be particularly risky. The condition and concentration of elements in some electronic components can make those products dangerous. Mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium, and lithium are all found in some materials. 

The human nervous, cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, and skeletal systems are all vulnerable to injury from these toxic substances.


The Importance of Recycling Used Electronics

Some minerals extracted from the ground and used in electrical device production are mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, indium, lithium, cobalt, copper, and aluminum. There is a risk that these metals will seep into the groundwater supply if dumped in a landfill or an unguarded waste facility instead of a recycling center.

Toxic substances aside, recycling used goods and materials is crucial for energy conservation. Not to mention, every electrical device dumped in a landfill was once valuable for something else.


The Dangers of Not Recycling Electronic Waste

Unfortunately, the harmful impacts on the environment differ from those on people. Failure to properly dispose of electronic trash can have far-reaching consequences for all forms of life on Earth. The most common manifestations of the resulting problems are:

  • Air Pollution

Incinerators are an alternative to landfills for disposing of electronic trash when recycling is not an option. Because of this, chemicals like flame retardants found in e-waste can be released into the air and have a devastating effect on the ecosystem. 

The results harm all forms of life, perhaps causing contamination and sickness. It prevents the substance from leaching into the soil and water, yet it has far-reaching and destructive effects on the natural world.

  • Contamination of Groundwater

Electronic garbage can contaminate groundwater like it would contaminate soil if left there. Some water in rivers, lakes, and ponds originates in the ground. As a result of contamination, heavy metals like lead and cadmium can seep into the groundwater supply. The contamination spreads through the ecosystem and ends up in the fish and water.

  • Compromised Soil Quality

The specific electronic device is constructed from non-biodegradable materials, making its disposal in landfills a potentially millennia-long process. When a piece of electronic garbage is buried or dumped in the ground, the same toxic chemicals and compounds might seep into the ground. 

The spread of this tainted soil might have devastating effects on native flora, fauna, and agricultural products. Since we rely on agriculture and local wildlife for sustenance, this has negative consequences.


Electronics that You Can Recycle

Recycling most domestic electrical gadgets prevents them from clogging landfills and leaking harmful substances. The six most common electronic waste streams should always be recycled.

  • Smartphones

The typical smartphone only lasts for about two and a half years. But their parts will continue to have value long after that. Cell phone plastic may be melted down and recycled. 

The precious metals can be recycled into new phone circuit boards. You can also dispose of your old iPod, mp3 player, and camera simultaneously as your old smartphone.

  • Computers

Don’t just toss away your old computer when you get a new one; think about what you could do with it first. Almost every computer component is recyclable, though experts should dispose of the battery.

  • LEDs and Incandescent

If handled by a licensed electronics recycler, light bulbs can be disassembled and reused. If you recycle at home, never throw away a light bulb.

  • Equipment for Computers

Anything that has ever been hooked into or connected to your computer can be recycled. Everything from the printer and ink cartridges to the mouse and keyboard.

  • Game Machines

Just upgraded to the newest console and don’t know what to do with the old one. Metals and polymers from used game consoles and their peripherals can be recycled and put to new uses. Rather than letting them end up in landfills, obsolete headsets, controllers, and games can be recycled into new products.

  • Batteries

Although specific guidelines exist for disposing of certain battery types, most intact batteries can be recycled at e-waste recycling sites.


Electronics that You Can’t Recycle

Despite being uncommon, some electronic waste is occasionally rejected during recycling. The following are a few instances of the electrical device kinds that are typically disregarded:

  • Flat-panel liquid-crystal-display TVs
  • flat-panel liquid-crystal displays
  • Mercury-laden older TVs
  • TVs with cathode ray tubes as their primary display medium

Electronics containing mercury and lead are not recyclable and are considered hazardous waste. While it’s true that no reputable electronics recycler would take dangerous waste, you shouldn’t worry that your hazardous e-waste will end up polluting a landfill.

Toxins in hazardous trash are burned up in incinerators, or the debris is put in a specially-designed landfill section where it decomposes without polluting the air or water.



The burden of discarded electronics shouldn’t weigh heavily on your conscience or our planet. As this article has revealed, responsible electronic recycling is key to safeguarding our environment and ourselves. Toxic materials within electronics, left unchecked, seep into soil and water, poisoning ecosystems and jeopardizing our health. Landfills become toxic wastelands, jeopardizing the delicate balance of nature.

But there’s hope! By collaborating with First America for electronic recycling, you can be a part of the solution. We’re committed to responsible disposal that conserves resources and minimizes environmental impact. Our innovative methods extract valuable materials from your used electronics, like copper and aluminum, and give them a new life, reducing reliance on virgin resources and lowering the overall environmental footprint.

The good news expands beyond environmental benefits. We accept a wide range of electronics, from everyday smartphones and computers to game consoles and batteries, for responsible recycling. Simply locate your nearest First America facility or contact us online to understand our accepted items and disposal guidelines. Our friendly experts are eager to guide you through the process, making informed choices that benefit both you and the planet easier than ever.

While limitations exist in recycling certain electronics, like older TVs containing mercury, we’re here to help every step of the way. We ensure proper disposal channels are utilized for these exceptions, preventing environmental contamination. By partnering with First America, you can rest assured your e-waste won’t contribute to the problem.

Remember, a healthy planet is a shared responsibility. By choosing First America for your electronic recycling needs, you contribute to a more sustainable future.



What are the benefits of recycling electronics?

Recycling electronics diverts harmful materials from landfills, conserves resources by reusing existing materials, and reduces the energy needed to produce new electronics. It’s a win-win for your wallet and the planet!

Which common electronics can I recycle?

Most everyday electronics are recyclable, including smartphones, computers, tablets, game consoles, printers, keyboards, and batteries. Check with your local recycling facility for their specific list.

Are there any electronics I can’t recycle?

Yes, some electronics require special handling due to hazardous materials. This includes older TVs containing mercury and certain types of light bulbs. Look for specialized disposal options for these items.

How can I find a responsible electronics recycler?

Many electronics retailers and manufacturers offer take-back programs. You can also search online for certified e-waste recycling facilities in your area. Look for certifications that ensure responsible handling and processing.

What should I do before I recycle my electronics?

Before dropping off your electronics, remove any personal data like photos, files, and passwords. You may also want to wipe your hard drive or use data destruction software for added security.