Small Dog Electronics has long been concerned about its footprint on the Earth. We started recycling electronics on a small scale many years ago, but ewaste (electronic waste) has grown to be a major problem on a global scale. According to the EPA, 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years, due to the speed of technological advances. As such, the disposal rate of electronic material increases at an alarming pace every year.
Small Dog Electronics' eWaste Initiative
Doing our part for a greener future!
We strive to maintain environmentally healthy business practices, including reducing our waste, reducing energy consumption, carpooling to work, among other things! By 2004, we wanted to expand our commitment to the environment, and so we began a local ewaste recycling program through our Vermont retail stores.
In 2007, we initiated a free recycling day in honor of Earth Day on April 22. We recycled over 55 tons of ewaste in one day in the event's inaugural year. In 2008 and 2009, our event brought in over 130 tons over the span of 5 hours. Our 2010 events in So. Burlington, VT and Manchester, NH brought in over 100 tons from 1,800 carloads.
In whole, the Small Dog Electronics eWaste Initiative is an effort to:
- Help people by giving them a place to recycle their electronics
- Spread the word to people and businesses about the harmful effects of electronic waste if not properly disposed of or recycled
- Help prevent the dumping of toxic wastes at home and abroad
Read on below for information on how you can do your part to recycle your electronic waste:
Retail Store Recycling
Bring it to us!
Your computer and other electronics can have a life after you're ready to move on—bring it in, and we will dispose of it for you. If you live in Vermont or are in the area, we offer a recycling program through our retail stores! We're proud to offer this free service!
Buy a computer from Small Dog Electronics online, and we will recycle your old one for free!
We will take your old computer when you buy a new one, less shipping charges.
Visit the State of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources' site to find a list of other recycling and reuse locations throughout the state.State of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources
Aren't near a Small Dog store? Recycle your ewaste nationwide.
Visit the National Recycling Coalition's website to find upcoming events in your state.
Visit the Electronics Industries Alliance to view both state and national recycling programs.
The National Cristina Foundation takes electronics donations to help benefit those with special needs. For more information about their cause, including electronics requirements, visit their website.
Things to know about electronic waste
eWaste, which includes electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, printers and related peripherals, is both an environmental problem and a health hazard. Electronics contain substantial amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium, discussed in detail below. When electronics are not properly disposed of or recycled, the toxins can potentially seep into the ground and affect our groundwater and the air we breathe.
Some discarded electronics end up in landfills in the US, but many are shipped to third world countries where children and other workers sort through the discarded electronics searching for parts they are paid several cents for. They often do this work without gloves, masks or goggles, suffering exposure to the harmful chemicals, glass, and other sharp objects.
In addition, recycling also creates one hundred more jobs than regular garbage disposal. Valuable materials such as steel, glass, plastic and precious metals which can be reused for other purposes can be recovered from recycling.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that ewaste accounts for about 1% of the nation's 210 million tons of solid waste each year
- Other reports have estimated that ewaste constitutes as much as 2-5% of the US municipal solid waste stream and continues to grow rapidly
- eWaste is continually on the rise, with an average of 220 tons of computers and other ewaste dumped in landfills and incinerators every year in the US
- Many people discard computers every three to five years, and an estimated 250 million computers will become obsolete within the next five years
- Older TVs and computers can contain an average of four pounds of lead as well as other toxic substances like chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, and zinc
- Mobile phones will be discarded at a rate of 130 million per year by 2005, resulting in 65,000 tons of waste.
Hazardous materials found in every day electronics
Electronics contain substantial amounts of lead, cadmium, hexavelent chromium, mercury, and bromiated flame retardants. If improperly handled, these toxins can be released into the environment.
Electronic materials containing hazardous materials:
- Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) in monitors and televisions utilize lead to shield the user from radiation
- Can contain chromium, lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, nickel and zinc
- Lead solder is used to hold components to circuit boards
- Printed circuit boards often contain batteries that have numerous hazardous metals including mercury, nickel, cadmium and lead
- In addition to the materials in monitors and CPUs, laptop computers have a small florescent lamp containing mercury in the screen
- Printers utilize circuit boards, batteries, and toner cartridges
- Copiers have selenium or chromium drums