Recycling Ewaste

What is Considered Ewaste?  

Any device that is powered by electricity (battery, solar, plug-in) and is no longer functional is considered to be Ewaste. This can mean anything from personal electronic devices like mp3 players to large kitchen appliances.  If a device is broken or does not work as intended, it should be recycled if possible.  In some cases, disposal is the only practical option.  If the device still works, but is just outdated, donation for reuse should be considered.

Device Destruction, Reuse and Data Security

When recycling devices such as computers, tablets, PDA’s, smart phones and game consoles an important concern for consumers is making sure any personal data on the device is erased or destroyed.   There are plenty of websites that offer suggestions for thoroughly erasing your data – if the device can still be turned on.  If a device will not turn on, sensitive information could still be retrieved with some effort.  Physical removal and destruction of the hard drive or memory device may be the best solution in some cases.

If the device is intended be reused, data removal is critical.  If the device is intended to be shredded or disassembled for its metal, plastic, circuit boards, and other materials, data security should still be a concern.  Some effort should be made to determine if the Ewaste recycler has made a commitment to data destruction and acceptable recycling practices. Click here to learn how KnoxEcycles screens the recyclers listed on this website.

Special Handling Required for Some Devices

Refrigeration devices must have refrigerant gas removed by a certified technician prior to recycling. This includes refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, water coolers, water fountains and anything containing Freon or Freon-substitutes. The City of Knoxville Transfer Station properly removes refrigerant gas.  Reputable, professional refrigeration repair technicians can also perform this service prior to recycling the device.

Televisions and computer monitors with the old-style leaded glass tubes (cathode ray tubes) require special handling.  This does not apply to LCD, LED and Plasma screens.  The recycling market for CRTs is inconsistent so recycling of CRTs cannot be guaranteed.  Smaller computer monitors and smaller TVs (those less than 27 inches across) are sometimes accepted at events and some electronic retailers.  Larger monitors and TVs (including projection TVs and consoles) should be taken to the City of Knoxville Transfer Station.

Some smoke detectors may be thrown away and some must be returned to their manufacturer.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions for your specific brand of smoke detector.

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