Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about Recycling E-Waste

Any unwanted electronic item is considered e-waste. Millions of tons of e-waste are disposed of annually. According to the EPA, in 2010, 2,440,000 tons of e-waste were disposed of, with only 27% of that being recycled. Recycling e-waste keeps toxic heavy metals out of landfills and the environment, and enables valuable resources to be harvested and reused. CWRU is lucky to have a fantastic partnership with RET3, a local non-profit committed to refurbishing unwanted computers for a second life at local non-profits and schools and demanufacturing and responsibly recycling electronics at the end of their useful life. In 2013, CWRU recycled 47,846 tons of e-waste, keeping over 500 computers out of the landfill!

Staff and faculty members who have e-waste to dispose of should request a pick-up by completing this form. RET3 will contact requestors to schedule a convenient time to collect the items from the office or department. It is important that the e-waste remain in closed offices and out of hallways pending pick-up, to prevent safety concerns, and to protect the integrity of the materials to be reused and recycled. Prior to refurbishing all computers and harddrives, RET3 wipes the drives with BLANCCO, the same software used by the Department of Defense. Employees are still required to follow the ITS media sanitization policy prior to donation of equipment.

While students are not currently able to participate in this collection program, they are encouraged to take small e-waste items, such as cell phones, calculators, cameras and even cds or jump drives, to a collection box in Wade Commons or Fribley. Also, RET3 will be on campus on Case for Community Day, September 19th on East Boulevard across from the Lagoon. Anyone can bring e-waste for recycling to the truck between 10am and 2pm. Staff, faculty and University Circle community members are also encouraged to bring e-waste from home to this collection event.

Story by Morgan Bulger and Erin Kollar