Recycling Your E-Waste

If you’re getting ready for some spring cleaning, you might be getting rid of your old phones, televisions or computers. More cities, including Cleveland, now prefer that you dispose of your electronic waste, or E-waste, separately from your landfill trash - recycle it instead of sending it to the landfill! Ohio has no law that says you must separate your E-waste, but the materials can be recycled and reused. So why not?

image of stacked old computer monitors

And what is E-waste, anyway? There are many things that we call E-waste. I mentioned old phones, but besides devices, used batteries, ink cartridges from printers, and even printers themselves are E-waste. Most electronic devices and their various accessories are considered to be E-waste. Often, it is said that "anything with a cord" is E-waste.

At home, you can usually take your E-waste to a nearby office supplier such as Staples, or you can research local E-waste disposal. Depending on where you live, you may be required to dispose of your E-waste separately from your regular landfill trash, possibly through specific programs. In Cuyahoga county, there are many programs available for E-waste disposal, including the nonprofit RET3 job corp. which will wipe your hard drives according to Department of Defense specifications. Anyone is welcome to drop off their personal E-waste at the lobby recycling area of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District in Garfield Heights.

If you're a member of the CWRU staff or faculty, CWRU is partnered with RET3 job corp to deal with your E-waste, which includes distribution to charity. The form to request E-waste disposal is on the CWRU website, and a shortened link is given here for your convenience:

If you're a CWRU student, you can direct your E-waste to either Fribley or Wade Commons, where a disposal area should be near the landfill and recycling. At either building, you can recycle your batteries, printer cartridges, and various smaller devices.

E-waste includes the following and more:

  • Computers and accessories (e.g. desktops, laptops, keyboards, monitors)

  • Printers, tablets,  and e-readers

  • Telecom devices, networking equipment, and cell phones

  • Video game systems, CDs/DVDs/VHS, cables, and other miscellanea

Keep your large devices until the end of spring semester to participate in REScycle! During REScycle, you can get rid of your unwanted devices, clothes, toys, and other belongings so that you don’t have to take them home.

Of course, if you know that your electronics have some of their useful life left, please feel free donate them to local schools or charities aside from RET3 job corp so that they can still be used!

Story by Alexis Balog, Sustainability Ambassador