Students have battery and ink cartridge recycling available in their dorms, but where can they go with unneeded electronics? Student Technology Services (STS) is a drop-off point to properly recycle electronics. STS staff will store e-waste to be picked up and disposed of in a safe and sustainable manner by WashU’s Environmental Health & Safety office. Students and other WashU community members can drop items off at the service desk, which opens at noon every day.
Why does e-waste matter? In the United States, about 400 million electronics are thrown away each year. Consumers can reduce their overall consumption by purchasing durable products and maintaining them well. Products can also be donated or sold so they can be re-used. However, when an electronic can no longer be used, it’s extremely important to recycle. The EPA estimates that in 2011, only 25% of e-waste was recycled. The remaining 75% went to landfills and incinerators. Many electronics are considered hazardous. For example, televisions are generally high in lead or mercury depending on their age. If waste companies do not properly seal landfills, these hazardous materials can leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams. Burning the plastics in electronics also emits dioxin into the air.
To learn more about e-waste and management, click here.