If you are a typical consumer, you have a house or apartment filled with electronics. You are using some of these on a daily basis. Others are broken or out of date. You know you’re not supposed to just throw them into the garbage can or put them at the curb. You know it is illegal to dump them at the side of a road or in a farm field. What can you do with them?

Because of the constant improvements in technology, electronics are the largest growing segment of the waste stream. Some of these devices contain rare materials which can be reused in manufacturing. Therefore, it makes sense to recycle.

Below is a list of electronics that can be recycled:

    • Laptops
    • Televisions and monitors
    • Cell phones
    • Camcorders
    • Cameras and camcorders
    • Gaming consoles
    • MP3 Players
    • PDAs
    • Peripherals (printers, keyboards, etc.)
    • Phones and answering machines
    • Stereos
    • VCRs and DVD players

Some cities, such as the City of Aurora, hold regular drop-off events for residents to dispose of their electronics. A recent drop-off event had two new features: (1) There was no charge for up to two screens (computers or televisions) instead of $25 or $35 per screen regular price. Three other items could be added at no cost. (2) Residents were required to make appointments to drop-off their items. Appointments were scheduled in blocks of an hour (e.g., 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.). This spread out the traffic and prevented long lines from forming.

Counties, including Kane County and DuPage County, often have electronics recycling programs. For example, Kane County has both weekday drop-offs and a monthly event. Staff will help you unload your items, take your fees, and give you a tax deduction receipt. In Kane County, televisions and monitors cost $25 (under 21” measured diagonally) or $35 (21” or over). Check with your own county for drop-off dates, locations, and fees.

Many electronics stores offer recycling for free (with the purchase of a new item) or for a fee. Check online for the store’s policy.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video How Computers and Electronics Are Recycled (SIMS Recycling Solutions), go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw4g6H7alvo 

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