Monday, April 2, 2012

E-Cycle Washington – the free, convenient and responsible way to e-cycle

by Miles Kuntz, E-Cycle Washington, Ecology Waste 2 Resources Program

E-Cycle Washington may sound like a program for bike riders, but it’s not. In fact, it’s for everyone. E-Cycle Washington is a free electronics recycling program overseen by the Department of Ecology. Electronics manufacturers fund the program; no state tax dollars are used. Ecology oversees E-Cycle Washington to ensure that electronics are recycled responsibly and safely.

Under this program, the following can recycle electronic products at no charge:
  • Individuals
  • Households
  • Small businesses
  • Schools and school districts
  • Small governments
  • Charities
  • Special purpose districts

(For details on how those on the above list are defined, go to this link: Who can recycle with E-Cycle Washington?)

To find a free E-Cycle Washington drop-off site in your area (there are more than 290 statewide), go to Be sure to look for businesses on the list that feature E-Cycle Washington’s green plug logo next to their name. They’re the only ones registered with the program.

Consumers can recycle certain electronics for free through other means, but be wary. Free recycling does not always mean responsible recycling. It’s important to recycle responsibly because electronics contain toxic materials that can pollute soil, water and air if mishandled.

E-Cycle Washington currently accepts the following products:
  • Televisions
  • Computers
  • Computer monitors
  • Portable or laptop computers, including “tablet computers”
  • e-readers (also called e-book readers)

At this time, computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice and printers are not accepted by the program.

E-Cycle Washington has been recycling electronics for more than three years now. To date, more than 126 million pounds have been collected through our statewide network of collection sites. Each year’s total has surpassed the previous one.

Education and promotion are keys to the success of any recycling program, even a free one. Some of the efforts so far to promote E-Cycle Washington include:
  • Most retailers provide e-cycling information on the receipt when you buy a computer, monitor, TV or e-reader.
  • Radio ads sponsored by the manufacturers have blanketed the state the past two years.
  • A number of public utilities have included inserts in their monthly bills.
  • Local governments promote the program.
  • Newspapers have reported on the program, including announcing the achievement of the 100-million-pound collection mark last summer.

So now you know what to do with your unwanted or outdated electronics! E-Cycle is free and convenient. And it’s important for the environment. Electronic products contain toxics like lead and mercury, as well as valuable resources like copper and other metals that don’t belong in our landfills.

Look for the E-Cycle Washington logo and recycle!

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