Everyone should recycle as much as they can both at home and the office. Landfills are overflowing across the nation and each day more trash is generated. The Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership estimates that each US resident generates around 42 pounds of e-waste each year. Only 25 states have laws that mandate electronics recycling. Only 19 states ban the disposal of e-waste in a landfill. It’s not enough, and people need to take steps to make sure they’re recycling e-waste.

Some unwanted or broken items cause harm if they’re disposed of. You may not be aware that a computer contains metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury. If a computer is thrown into a landfill, over the decades those metals end up in the ground where they can end up in the soil and waterways. That’s why e-waste recycling has become so important.

E-recycling doesn’t have to be difficult. Varying laws across the U.S. can make it hard for people to understand what to do with their electronics when they upgrade to the latest device. An older, slow laptop gets replaced by new technology, which leaves an old laptop sitting gathering dust. A cell phone company no longer supports that old iPhone you’ve had for years, so you have to upgrade. What do you do with the old phone that has no value? There’s a new way to recycle electronics like these that’s going to make your life very easy.

Residents and businesses in 10 cities now have a simpler way to recycle unneeded electronics. By partnering with ERI, Amazon has come up with a secure way to recycle electronics that aren’t needed after consumers purchase newer models or devices. With the recycling bin program, residents find the nearest location, drop off their item through the slot in the locked recycling bin, and let ERI do the rest. Data on your devices will be destroyed at one of ERI’s facilities, so you do not have to worry about your private information being exposed or stolen. There’s no charge for this service.

Where are these bins? They’re scattered around the U.S. and more locations may be added as the recycling bin program grows. Visit Amazon for a complete list of ERI recycling bins. Here are the current locations as of July 2020.

  • California – 923 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles
  • California – 96 East San Fernando Street, San Jose
  • Illinois – 2728 North Clark Street, Chicago
  • Maryland – 4200 Guilford Drive, B1, College Park
  • Massachusetts – 870 Commonwealth Avenue, Brookline
  • Ohio – 2114 North High Street, Columbus
  • Pennsylvania – 209 Oakland Avenue, Pittsburgh
  • Texas – 2101 Speedway Austin
  • Texas – 2407 9th Street, Suite 400, Lubbock
  • Washington – 76 South Lander Street, Seattle

Most of the locking electronic recycling bins are right at the building or suite’s entrance. They’re usually located near an Amazon returns drop-off, which makes them easy to spot. What do they look like? Keep your eye out for a large white and green bin that says “ERI Secure Electronics Recycling Bin.”

How Does ERI Recycle Electronics?

When you deposit your items in the recycling containers, what happens next? Items in these locking recycling bins are transported to the nearest ERI facility. Data is destroyed following NIST 800-88 Rev 1 standards to make sure that nothing remains of the personal data often found on phones and laptops. Once the data is destroyed, the item is appraised to see if they still have value and can be refurbished and become part of Amazon’s Second Chance Program.

If there is value, the items are refurbished. They’re repaired by experts and tested to make sure the item is in perfect working order. Refurbished items are resold through Amazon Renewed. If you’ve ever shopped for electronics online, you see a notice that an item is refurbished. It will work like new, but the fact that it was refurbished means you’ll get the electronic item for a lower price than the MSRP.

Items that have outlived being viable are shredded and separated into metal, glass, and plastic. Those components are then recycled, melted down, and used to make new items. The goal is to keep everything from the landfill where it can release toxins into the earth and waterways.

ERI stands out as a leader in e-waste recycling. It was the first electronic waste recycler with multiple locations to hold both R2 and e-Stewards certification. The ITAD specialists also hold NAID AAA certification and ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 certifications. ERI is also a Microsoft Registered refurbisher. There’s a strong focus on protecting the environment and keeping electronics out of landfills. ERI has shredders within the U.S. that can process over 15,000 pounds of e-waste each hour and provide all of these services in the U.S. in secure facilities. Nothing gets shipped overseas where it’s harder to know exactly what becomes of it.

What Can You Recycle?

Any electronic device that fits in the bin’s hatch can be recycled. Many smaller items fit easily into the hatch. This includes laptops, cellphones, tablets, e-readers, small monitors, smart speakers, gaming systems, modems, and routers. You can recycle game controllers, headphones, MP3 players, cameras, and BluRay players.

Once you deposit them in the slot, they slide to the bottom of the storage container where they’re safe behind a locked door. If you happen to drop something else into the bin, you need to contact ERI to see if the item has been recovered. If it was, you can make arrangements to have that item returned to you.

While Amazon and ERI are partnering to come up with an easy and safe way to recycle electronics, there are some things you cannot recycle in the bins. The hatch on a locking bin is 11” by 29”, so there are size limitations that make it impossible to recycle larger electronics. Generally, the things you cannot recycle are:

  • Appliances like microwaves and toaster ovens
  • Hazardous and medical waste
  • Large electronics like old computer monitors and large-screen TVs
  • Light bulbs
  • Loose batteries or damaged/defective lithium batteries
  • Non-electronic items like books, CDs, or DVDs

What do you do if you have a broken dishwasher, microwave, or large computer screen to dispose of that can’t go into an Amazon and ERI recycle bin? ERI offers recycling boxes that you can have shipped to your home. In these e-waste recycling kits, you get the box and all packaging materials. You purchase these boxes from ERI, fill them with your electronic items, call UPS for a pick-up, and track the box as it leaves your address and travels to one of the eight ERI facilities.

Recycle Nation can also help you find the right way to recycle electronics. Enter the item you need to dispose of in the search bar and add your ZIP code. A list of options appears with a map showing you how close they are. It’s one of the easiest ways to simplify the recycling of items that don’t belong in the trash.

Every item you recycle helps save the planet and can help someone in need of affordable electronics get what they need for school, work, or home. Recycling your electronics is much easier than you could imagine and Amazon and ERI have partnered to make it easier than ever before. With Recycle Nation, you can also find other options if the electronics recycling bins are not yet in your area.