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Recycling options for unwanted consumer electronics

Waste electronic and electrical products from households should be managed responsibly, even in small quantities.

Residents can take advantage of the growing number of recycling options for household electronics — some are free, while some charge a fee. Look around to find the best deal available!

Not just a good idea. Many consumer products must be recycled. These are banned from the trash and must be properly handled.

  • CRT-containing devices, like televisions and computer monitors.
  • Flat-panel video displays typically contain one or more mercury-containing lamps.
  • Rechargeable batteries and battery packs.
  • Fluorescent bulbs and tubes.


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* Minnesota recyclers
* Collection events
* County contacts
* Retail programs
* Manufacturer programs
* Cell phones
* Sony products
* Recycling options for business

Recycle consumer electronics in Minnesota

Recycle consumer electronicsPDF 100KbCollection sites, sorted by county

Statewide, Minnesota currently has over 150 registered collection sites for consumer electronics.

  • Fees may apply—shop around for your best deal.
  • Contact the collector to ensure that they will accept the items you wish to recycle.
  • Some collection locations are restricted to residents.
  • For counties without listed collectors, contact your county solid waste office for ideas.

Collection events

We've worked to find collection events around Minnesota that include waste electronics. Please contact the event sponsor to ensure that you are eligible for the event and to confirm fees.

Local collection events may be restricted to local residents or certain types of electronics. There may be a fee, but free recycling may be offered for certain brands or types of equipment (TVs and computer monitors are generally recycled for a fee.)

Don't see an event listed in your area? Contact your county solid waste office to ask about possible collections in your county.

Last update: November 2008

Open events

May 1, 2009 (7 a.m. - 8 p.m.)
St. Cloud | Crossroads Center (Third Street N entrance)
Free recycling of laptops and cellphones.
Fees apply (50¢/pound) for all other e-waste: televisions, computers, computer peripherals, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, DVD players & recorders, VCRs, & PDAs.
A fundraising event for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota. Questions: 320-255-6140.

Last update: April 24, 2009

Recyclers, local governments: List your event! <webcontent@moea.state.mn.us>

Retail programs

Some retail stores provide recycling services that are convenient for consumers that want to get rid of various broken or unwanted electronics, particularly cell phones and rechargeable batteries.

  • Best BuyBest Buy provides free and easy recycling for any brand of cell phone, printer ink cartridge, and rechargeable battery at any of their 600-plus retail locations nationwide—look for the special display in the front entrance.

  • Call2recycleThrough the RBRC's Call2Recycle program, retailers including Batteries Plus, Target, and Radio Shack offer drop-offs for all brands of unwanted cell phones and accessories. Go online to find participating locations, or call 1-877-2-RECYCLE. Useable phones are refurbished for donation, and the rest is recycled with a portion of the proceeds given to charity.

  • Sprint Project ConnectSprint Project Connect offers free drop-off of all brands of wireless phones at Sprint Stores and participating Easter Seals locations nationwide. Donations are either recycled or resold, with a portion of the net proceeds benefiting Easter Seals and the National Organization on Disability (NOD).

  • Staples Inc.Staples office supply stores offer free drop-off recycling services for used cell phones, PDAs, pagers, and rechargeable batteries. The chain has partnered with CollectiveGood to refurbish useable devices and recycle those that are broken.

    • Austin: 1702B 17th St NW (55912), 507-434-9466
    • Rochester: 3839 Market Place Dr NW (55901), 507-536-3939
    • Use the Staples online Store locator to see if there's another store near you.

  • Staples Inc.Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLinesm Phone Recycling Program, consumers get free drop-off recycling services for used cell phones at retail store locations. With the funds raised from the sale of the refurbished phones, Verizon Wireless will purchase wireless phones and donate airtime to victims of domestic violence through human services and law enforcement agencies.

ShippingManufacturer recycling programs

Several major manufacturers of computers and electronics are offering consumers recycling and reuse alternatives for their products. This is most common for old PCs and computer peripherals (monitors, keyboards, mice, etc.).

The offers have significant differences in cost and arrangements — be sure you "read the fine print" and confirm that your equipment is accepted.

  • Apple ComputerApple Recycling Program | www.apple.com/environment/recycling/program
    For qualifying purchases of a computer or monitor from the online Apple Store or a retail Apple Store, you can opt into the Apple Recycling Program for free. After purchase, you will get an email with instructions for free recycling of your old computer and monitor, regardless of manufacturer, including shipping via FedEx. last update 8/06

  • Wireless: The new recyclableCell phone recycling: Wireless... the new recyclable | www.recyclewirelessphones.com
    Answering the call for recycling options for cell phones, this program promotes efforts by companies in the wireless sector. The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) and its member companies are "committed to the goal of sustainable development and the environmentally sound management of their wireless products at end-of-life."

  • DellDell Recycling | www.dell4me.com/recycling
    Dell Recycling offers free pickup and recycling for Dell-brand computers and peripherals.
    Or, for those purchasing a new Dell computer, they will recycle your old technology at no charge, regardless of manufacturer.
       Finally, through a partnership with the National Cristina Foundation, Dell can help you donate qualifying systems to someone in need. You can earn a tax deduction.

  • EpsonEpson Recycle Program | www.epson.com/recycle
    Epson offers recycling for its products, including printers, scanners, and projectors. A fee of $10 per item covers shipping and recycling, and you get a $5 credit on their online store.
       Recycling services are prepaid through the Epson web site, and they send you a UPS label. You box up your item and bring it to a UPS drop site in your area.

  • FujitsuFujitsu | http://fujitsu.ewaste-recycle.com
    Free recycling of Fujitsu-brand laptop and tablet computers, including free shipping when dropped off at a UPS store. Services include a bulk recycling option. Sign up online and print out a return label.

  • Gateway Trade-in and RecycleGateway Trade-in & Recycle Program | http://gateway.eztradein.com
    Gateway's Technology Trade-in Center lets recent customers mail in used, working electronics and get paid. An online system will provide an estimate and produce a postage-paid label for shipping via UPS.   Gateway offers a separate program for organizations and businesses that have recycling needs for old technology: Gateway Asset Recovery Services.

  • Hewlett Packard (HP): Planet Partners Recycling Program | www.hp.com/go/recycle
    HP Recycling In the U.S., HP offers product end-of-life return programs for computer hardware and peripherals from HP and other manufacturers. After unwanted hardware is evaluated, it is either donated to charity or recycled by HP. Consumers are charged for each item sent in, with fees ranging from $13–34 per item. HP's automated, on-line service calculates your final cost, payable by credit card. Sample costs (each): CPU ($21), monitor ($29), laser printer ($34).
      Any brand of equipment is accepted. Use the web-based order form to identify what you need to recycle, and they will calculate a total cost including shipping. The site offers instructions for packing and pickup service.

  • Lexmark Lexmark Recycles | 859-232-3022
    Lexmark has free programs for returning consumables and equipment for recycling at end of life. The Equipment Collection Program will accept Lexmark-brand printers for free recycling, but the consumer has to make the arrangements and pay for the shipping. Spent Lexmark toner cartridges can be returned using free, postage-paid envelopes through the Cartridge Collection Program.

  • LG Electronics LG Electronics | http://us.lge.com/green/
    The LG Electronics Recycling Program is a partnership with Waste Management, offering free recycling of LG-brand electronics at designated WM eCycling drop-off centers—up to 5 devices per visit.
      Accepted products include LG, Zenith and GoldStar brands of TVs, monitors, audio equipment, VCRs and DVD player/recorders, combination TV/VCR and TV/DVD units, set top boxes and accessories associated with those products.
      LG believes that individual producer responsibility is "the ideal model for take-back and recycling programs," where each brand owner offers to take back and recycle their own brands of products.

  • MPC ComputersMPC Computers | 1-888-224-4247 (press "0" for operator)
    This program accepts all brands of computer equipment. Recycling is available on a per-unit basis. Desktop computers and monitors are collected separately, with a $35 charge for each (under 75 pounds.)
       Customers call the toll-free number and prepay by credit card. You box up your equipment, use the provided UPS label, and drop off the box at a UPS shipping center

  • http://pages.samsung.com/us/recyclingdirect/index.htmlSamsung Recycling Direct
    Free recycling of Samsung-brand consumer electronics at select drop-off locations around Minnesota. Other brands recycled for a fee. Find locations online: www.samsung.com/recyclingdirect

  • SonySony Electronics Take Back Recycling Program
    Sony has taken their free recycling program nationwide. They offer free recycling of Sony-brand consumer electronics at listed Waste Management eCycle drop-off centers. Find locations online, or call 1-877-439-2795.

  • SonyToshiba Trade-in & Recycling Program
    Toshiba offers free recycling of all Toshiba notebooks, as well as low-cost recycling options for electronics products from other manufacturers. Through its trade-in program, Toshiba also provides customers the opportunity to extend the life of their laptop or other consumer electronic product by trading it in for its cash value.

Options for cell phones

Cell phones seem to be everywhere these days, and millions are trashed each year in the U.S. But unwanted phones have value—keep them out of the trash!

Learn about the growing number of national programs for collecting unwanted cell phones and putting them to use—donation and reuse, resale, and recycling. Most programs are free to the consumer and make it easy, including free dropoff sites and postage-paid mailers.

  • Wireless: The new recyclableWireless... the new recyclable | www.recyclewirelessphones.com
    Promoting efforts to keep cell phones out of the trash — by donation and reuse, as well as recycling — this web site features programs that accept unwanted wireless devices.

  • Recycle your cell phoneRecycle Your Cell Phone: It's an easy call. U.S. EPA has teamed up with manufacturers and retailers to
    promote recycling your old cell phone, PDA, cell phone batteries, chargers, and accessories.

  • Call to ProtectThe Donate A Phone Call to Protect® campaign collects wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. In the hands of a victims, these phones are a lifeline enabling them to call for assistance when faced with an emergency situation. Non-working phones are sold for recycling. Visit the web site for a list of Minnesota drop-off sites, or call 1-888-901-7233.

  • Call2recycleThrough the Call2Recycle program, retailers including Best Buy, Target, and Radio Shack offer drop-offs for all brands of unwanted cell phones and accessories. Go online to find participating locations, or call 1-877-2-RECYCLE. Useable phones are refurbished for donation, the rest is recycled with a portion of the proceeds given to charity.

  • Nokia offers free recycling for all brands of cell phones. Use their online form to generate a postage-paid label for mailing phones.

  • Sprint Project ConnectSprint Project Connect raises money and support for people with disabilities while providing an environmentally friendly way to dispose of used wireless phones. Donations are either recycled or resold, with net proceeds benefiting Sprint's 4NetSafety program, which works to keep kids safer online.

Requirements for businesses and organizations

PDF 80KbManaging Electronic Wastes from Business Sources (Nov. 2004)

Businesses and institutions with electronic wastes are expected to manage electronic devices and components in a manner consistent with state and federal law.

The regulations that apply to businesses that generate, collect or process electronic waste (e-waste) are complicated. It can be very difficult to determine how e-waste must be managed at various steps of the recycling/disposal process. This fact sheet explains the current regulatory status of e-waste generated from business sources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recommended best management practices: PDF 80KbManaging Electronic Wastes from Business Sources (Nov. 2004)

In the Twin Cities metropolitan area e-waste may be additionally regulated through county ordinances. Generators and handlers of e-waste in the seven-county metropolitan area should check with their county hazardous waste program for additional requirements. Read How to Manage Electronic Equipment in the Workplace (GreenGuardian.com).

The Minnesota Recycling Markets Directory lists companies serving Minnesota that process commercial quantities of materials, including waste electronics: www.pca.state.mn.us/oea/markets

Last updates September 2008


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