Q:

What electronic items are considered to be recyclable?

A:

Quick Answer

Any electrical item that contains copper wiring or rare earth metals is recyclable to an extent. Increased demand for copper has increased its price over the years, so companies often accept used electronics, even if local recycling programs are not available.

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Full Answer

While some electrical items can be used for years or even decades, many become obsolete in a short period of time. Computers and mobile devices, for example, are often only used for a few years before their value has dropped dramatically. In an effort to keep potentially dangerous rare earth metals and other components out of landfills, governments often offer incentives to individuals and businesses to recycle their electronics.

Most city- and county-run recycling programs don't allow people to place electronics in recycling bins, but electronics can often be taken to recycling centers. Retail stores sometimes offer programs as well, especially if the labor required to disassemble parts is less than the expected returns from selling contents.

Another option to consider is donating items. Electronics considered obsolete are generally still functional, and people who can't afford a new computer may find a used one to be adequate for their needs. Similarly, an older but functional cell phone may be enough for some people who cannot afford a new device.

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