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Skidmore College
Sustainability

E-Waste

E-waste, or Electronic Waste, is a category of waste that makes up old or broken electronics, computer parts, batteries, ink cartridges, CDs, and other materials that may have hazardous metals or chemicals.

E-waste can not be safely landfilled: Many of the rare earth minerals or other chemicals used in making most electronics are harmful and hazardous to people and wildlife. These materials can leech into the surrounding environment and waterways and cause severe environmental and health problems, either here or abroad. 

Due to these hazardous materials and the complexity of most electronics, E-waste can also not be recycled normally.  However,they can be recycled at specialty locations and places that have special E-waste recycling programs. For example,  some maturfactures or stores offer E-waste recycling for a fee.

The story of E-waste doesn’t end there, however: some retailers ship E-waste to poor and developing countries in attempts to outsource labor or dispose of the hazardous material there. This places the burden and hazards of these materials on poorer people and countries, and is a violation of basic human rights. You can read up more about this problem on the EPA’s website here.

The good news is that there are organizations that review E-waste recycling companies and offer certifications for companies that recycle their E-waste properly.  Here at Skidmore, we have a contract with EWASTE+ for our electronics recycling needs. EWASTE+ is a high transparency recycling company that holds the R2/RIOS and NAID E-waste recycling certifications! They provide us with E-waste recycling program that is free and open to all students! (See below for details).

Facts About E-Waste:

America produces 10 million pounds of e-waste annually and most of it is not recycled
  • For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium can be recovered.
  • E-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.
  • 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.

While broken electronics and scarp are often recycled as E-waste, new and working electronic items can be donated.  Below is a short list of places in and around Saratoga County that accept electronic items as donations:

  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County (132 Milton Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY 12020)- Accepts small kitchen appliances and lamps.
  • The Salvation Army (27 Woodlawn Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866)- Please call ahead at 518-584-1640
  • Troy Area United Ministries ( 392 2nd Street, Troy, NY 12180)- Has a computer collection program, call their office at 518-274-5920 to donate a computer.

brick entrance with black doorFacilities runs an on-going E-waste collection program in the basement of Wait Hall (North Quad) for department and student E-waste. If you have any E-waste you would like to recycle, please call campus safety (518-580-5566) to let you into the Wait Basement Bike room (pictured). Once inside, please leave your E-waste items on the shelf against the wall. If you notice that the shelf is full, please contact someone at Facilities  (518-580-5860  Monday-Friday, 9am to 3pm).

Acceptable and Unaccepted Items:

The following is a small list of items accepted by our E-Waste Provider, EWASTE+

For a full list of acceptable and unacceptable items, see here (scroll down)*

*(Please note that large items like TVs are not designed to collected through our student program) 

Acceptable Items:

  • Batteries
  • Laptops
  • Phones and Mobile Devices
  • Computer Equipment (Mice, webcams, microphones, etc.)
  • Cables and Controllers
  • Fluorescent Lamps
  • Gaming Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Fans

Unaccepted Items:

  • Small appliances (toasters, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, irons, hair dryers, etc.)
  • Large TVs
  • Mini-Fridges
  • Anything with liquids or liquid mercury
  • Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners