UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, December 2012

ABCs of Electronic Waste “Updated 11/02/18”

e-stewards logoIt is that time of year.  Perhaps you will get a new personal computer as a gift or it is time to upgrade at the office.  Either way, here are three key tips to safely dispose of your old computers and other electronic equipment, including computers, monitors, peripherals, phones, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, microwave ovens, PDAs, and iPods.

A is for Always

Always dispose of your old electronic gadgets, often referred to as e-waste, responsibly.  Due to toxic components, they can’t be thrown in the trash.  At UCSF, do not simply put your old devices in the hallway for the janitor to pick up.  Take that extra moment and contact UCSF Campus Recycling at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  They can help you determine the best, low-cost disposal method.  For small pick-ups that take less than 30-minutes, CLS Distribution & Storage will pick items up free of charge (part of Surplus pick-up).

B is for Basil Action Network

BAN logoWhen it comes to recycling e-waste, always use a Basil Action Network (BAN) e-Steward approved recycler.  BAN created the e-Stewards program to reward recycling companies that don’t export their hazardous electronic waste to developing countries and provide customers with socially and environmentally responsible options to dispose of their old TVs, cell phones, or computers. 

UCSF only uses Apto Solutions, an BAN e-steward-certified recycler.  This is the best way to ensure that your old electronics do not ending up being dismantled in China or India by workers with no protective equipment.  In addition, Apto Solutions destroys your hard drive, ensuring the privacy of your data.

E-stewards is an accredited, third-party audited certification program that identifies electronics recyclers who conform to the highest environmental and worker health and safety standards:

  *  No export of hazardous waste to developing countries
  *  No landfill or incineration
  *  No use of prison labor
  *  Protection of private data
  *  Protection of worker health

C is for Consumer Electronics and Computers Can Go To Goodwill

GoodwillFor personal e-waste, consider taking your old equipment to Goodwill; they will either refurbish it or responsibly dispose of it.  Below is a list of the items they will accept free of charge.  For computers, Goodwill works with a partner that destroys the hard drive, ensuring data privacy.

Computers & Networking Equipment

  Desktops (PCs/Apple) & accessories
  Laptops (PCs/Apple) & notebooks
  iPads, tablets & e-readers
  Networking & communications
  Scanners — working or not
  Network equipment — working or not
  Monitors, printers & scanners

Consumer Electronics

  Televisions (TVs larger than 27 inches accepted only at certain sites)
  Home audio & theater
  Video & audio
  Video games & PC games
  MP3 players & accessories
  Cameras & video equipment
  Cell phones, PDAs & accessories
  Car electronics & GPS

Learn More

After Dump, What Happens to Electronic Waste
Center for Environmental Health