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Batteries & e-Waste

​Disposal of used consumer electronics and batteries is a growing concern for solid waste professionals across the country. Consumer electronics typically contain toxins such as lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, beryllium, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and brominated flame retardants. Batteries contain cadmium, copper, zinc, lead, manganese, nickel and lithium.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two million tons of "tech trash" ended up in landfills in 2005, with less than 10% being recycled. Manufacturer take-back programs are growing in popularity, as is the concept of "Extended Producer Responsibility" - an emerging concept in which manufacturers assume some or all of the burden of recycling their products. Until the concept is universal, local governments must take the initiative to recycle electronic items and batteries.


Homeboy Electronics Recycling is a certified and award-winning social enterprise offering nationwide service for the proper disposal and management of your IT assets.


Lincoln, CA provides a program to residents in which their e-waste can be picked up by appointment. The city has also provided a list and photos of the items they accept on their website.


Toronto, Ontario has a free program for the disposal of e-waste, which can be picked up with garbage, dropped off at a depot, a community environment day, or donated.


Call2Recycle is a program of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation promoting environmental sustainability by providing free battery and cell phone recycling in North America.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a helpful and informative web page on what to do with your e-waste.



[1] Robinson, B. H. (2009) E-waste: An assessment of global production and environmental impacts. Science of The Total Environment, 408(2), 183-191.

[2] Nel, A., et al. (2006). Toxic Potential of Materials at the Nanolevel. Science, 311(5761), 622-627.

[3] Lee, C. K., & Rhee, K. (2003) Reductive leaching of cathodic active materials from lithium ion battery wastes. Hydrometallurg, 68(1-3), 5-10

[4] United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012 (Rep.). Washington D.C.: United States Environmental Protection Agency 1-14.

[5] Sthiannopkao, S., & Wong, M. H. (2013). Handling e-waste in developed and developing countries: Initiatives, practices, and consequences. Science of The Total Environment, 463-464, 1147-1153.

[6] Gui, L., et al. (2013). Implementing Extended Producer Responsibility Legislation. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 17(2), 262-276.

[7] Saphores, J. M., et al. (2009). How much e-waste is there in US basements and attics? Results from a national survey. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(11), 3322-3331. 

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