Electronic waste, or e-waste, comprises just two percent of all waste collected in the United States, but amounts to 70 percent of the toxic waste in our landfills. There are strict regulations in place concerning the handling of e-waste, as many electronics contain lead and mercury, which can result in serious public health and environmental concerns, according to the EPA.
To promote responsible handling and recycling of these materials, on April 1, the City of Charleston will add televisions and any computer products—to include desktop computers, notebook computers, computer monitors and printers—to the category of waste, along with hazardous waste, that the public service department can no longer collect.
“Like other hazardous materials, the routine collection of e-waste is bad for the health of our citizens and employees, bad for the environment, and an increasingly bad deal for our city’s taxpayers, who are being forced to foot a larger and larger bill for the practice every year,” said Mike Metzler, Deputy Director of Operations of the city’s Public Service Department.
The move, which was approved by City Council last night, will impose no additional costs on private citizens, who have many convenient options to recycle e-waste for free.
First, Charleston County residents can drop off e-waste at the following convenience centers: Romney Street Convenience Center on the Peninsula, Bees Ferry Convenience Center in West Ashley and Signal Point Convenience Center on James Island. More information about other Charleston County convenience centers that accept e-waste, hours and directions can be found here
Second, residents may donate their e-waste to Goodwill, which will ensure that all the data on any computer hard drive is destroyed. Additional information about Goodwill’s e-waste recycling program can be found here
Finally, various retailers such as Staples and Best Buy have e-waste recycling programs, some of which offer discounts on new products when e-waste is recycled through their program.