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Recycling Electronic Waste at the Library

Recycling Electronic Waste at the Library

Goodbye iPhone 5. Less than two years and now it's gone. Sure, it only had an A6 chip instead of an A8, and turning it on took a button push instead of a thumbprint, but perhaps it deserved better than the current fate. Some old devices will be sold for refurbishment, but eventually, like today's iPhone 4, iPod minis, and devices with slide out QWERTY keyboards, iPhone 5s will lose their technological relevance and end up in a landfill.

You can help the AU Library reverse this trend by bringing your discarded electronics in to be recycled. Through a partnership with University Facilities and the Office of Sustainability, the Library collects these items and sends them to recycling centers. The electronic recycling process not only directly helps the environment by preventing dangerous toxins from being added to landfills, but also promotes sustainable resource management. Electronic devices are made with a variety of rare earth-metals such as silver, gold, and palladium. Reclaiming these minerals helps reduce industrial mining operations cutting down on pollution and preserving eco-systems around the world.

How significant is the impact of electronic waste on landfills? Electronic waste makes up five percent of solid waste worldwide—nearly the same amount as plastic packaging. It has become the fastest growing part of the municipal waste stream and continues growing as the lifecycle of computers and phones continues to shrink. Greenpeace reports that Americans replace their computers every two to three years on average, and their cell phones after only 18 months. According to the EPA, only one percent of these discarded electronics are recycled, which means more than 135 million mobile devices are thrown away each year.

Check the list below to see what devices can be recycled, and then bring unwanted items to the Course Reserves and Technology Borrowing Desk on the lower level of Bender Library. If you have other electronics not listed below, contact the Information Desk. Library staff will be happy to help find the most eco-friendly waste disposal option. It's a chance to clear out your junk and help the University in its commitment to send zero waste to landfills and incineration by 2020.

  • Computers and Laptops
  • Consumer Electronics: iPods, Walkman, GPS, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras
  • Cellular Phones, Pagers, iPhones, Blackberry
  • Network Equipment: Routers, Switches, Hubs, Modems
  • Printers, Typewriters, Fax Machines, Scanners
  • New or Used Toner and Ink Cartridges
  • Peripherals: Mice, Keyboards, Wires, Power Strips, Network Cables
  • Power Supplies, AC Adapters
  • Flat Panel Monitors, LCDs, LCD TVs, Plasma, LED, Flat Panel
  • Audio Equipment: Speakers, Stereo Equipment, Turntables
  • VCRs, DVD Players, BlueRay Players, Cable Boxes, Tivo, DVR, Satellite Receivers
  • RF, Radio, and Ham Radio Parts