Dear PoPville – Where to Recycle Electronics?

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Dear PoPville,

We have a bunch of old batteries, laptops, and CD players that don’t work and just take up space. We’ve got a few hangups about tossing all that in the trash (what with the pollution and all) and want to recycle/dispose of it appropriately. We looked into BestBuy, but it’s unclear if we can just drop our stuff off there. We’ve also heard about some periodic electronic recyclables pickup somewhere in Northeast. Do your readers have any recommendations for a metro-accessible place to dispose of our toys and batteries?

Anyone know of other places besides the Ft. Totten station?

27 Comment

  • you can drop off a lot of things – cords, rechargeable batteries etc – at Best Buy.

  • Greetings!
    Barbara Chambers Children’s Center is currently hosting a recycling drive. We are accepting all of the items you’ve listed. Our nonprofit organization is located just steps away from Columbia Heights Metro station. We serve low income children and their families and offer high quality educational services. This recycling drive has allowed us to partner with a national recycling partner. Partners reimburse us for everything we collect. Items such as yours allow us to continue serving Columbia Heights. We are located at 1470 Irving St NW. We welcome you to stop by with your items! In addition, if you need a receipt for tax purposes, I can provide you with one. Please dont hesitate to contact me! (202) 387-6755 x 104

    Jeannine Brooks
    Barbara Chambers Children’s Center

    • Barbara, thank you for your help to the community. What about old laptops?

      • YES! We certainly accept old laptops! Please come by and see us! We will gladly accept your old electronics!


    • Is any one available on the weekend for collection? Do you accept printers?

      • Unfortunately we are not open on the weekends. You can drop off any time between 7am-6pm M-F. I am also able to provide a tax receipt if you require one!

        • Jeannine, do you accept old laptops that no longer contain the hard drive?

          • Yes! Laptops in any condition are acceptable! Everything is melted down and recycled, so it really makes no difference what condition they are in!

            Thanks for thinking of us!

      • I dont think we can accept printers, but we can certainly accept ink jet cartridges!

  • the recycling drive sounds like your best bet by far, and I’ll definitely be dropping some items off myself!

    when there isn’t a drive, target and best buy have battery collections. best buy might take computers, I know the apple store will take anything if you are willing to haul electronics to georgetown.

  • The Children’s Center is a pretty solid option. Don’t know why you’d go elsewhere with this available.

    BUT, I dropped off a CRT TV at Best Buy. They charged $10, but then gave me a $10 gift card.

    • This wouldn’t be applicable for the OP, since (s)he mentioned that the items were non-working, but a lot of people offer their old-but-still-working CRT TVs, etc. on Freecycle.

      • Re-reading this, I realize it might have sounded like I was contradicting WDC or something — not my intention!

        I just wanted to recommend Freecycle as an alternative to having to pay to recycle a CRT TV. Even Best Buy gives you your $10 back in the form of a gift card, it seems somewhat sneaky of them to me… but maybe that’s because I almost never shop at Best Buy.

  • FYI, alkaline batteries are not recyclable. Trust me, I spent quite a lot of time researching this for my office recycling program. (that is to say, no one will take them for free, but if you REALLY want to recycle them you can pay for this service: or another like it)

    Best Buy accepts almost all electronics:

    • Biologist, thanks for the info (albeit discouraging info) on alkaline batteries. I’d been wondering if there was anywhere I could recycle them after I noticed a “Do not put in trash” symbol on an IKEA multipack of alkaline batteries.

  • Hello All,
    I just wanted to post a basic list of what we are collecting. I know folks have questions regarding what we can accept. Examples include:
    Cell Phones
    Ink Jet Cartridges
    Video Games
    MP3 players
    Mismatched jewelry ( gold, platinum, silver, etc)
    Game Boy
    Video Game Systems

    Please stop by and see us! It’s for a great cause! Thanks for thinking of us at Barbara Chambers Children’s Center!

  • often “green” buildings provide the service. Check where you work if you are in a new green building.

  • If you’re feeling uber-socially responsible, it is worth asking where the items are going. A lot of electronic waste gets shipped to Africa and other places where it is cheaply disposed of, causing harm to the environment and human health. In other cases, firms in China have taken old chips from personal computers and sold them back to us as part of military hardware, which doesn’t always work as designed. And there are also instances of sensitive personal information being taken from old hard drives.

    In the off chance anybody is interested, there was this 60 Minutes story on it:

    • Thanks for sharing this Nick.

      • Just watched the 60 min clip, and after a little research see that two execs from the business highlighted in the clip were indicted by a federal grand jury this past Sept. Really interesting and sad stuff. I’m interested in how this industry has changed (if at all) since issue has become more prominent, and where there truly is a ‘safe’ place to donate my used electronics.

  • Can anyone update us on the real fate of “recycled” electronics – which used to be shipped to India or Africa where they were stripped by the ultra-poor and all toxic waste dumped in rivers or local landfills?

  • You can recycle small electronics ( cell phones, chargers, mp3 players, cameras, GPS, laptops, e-readers, etc) at the zoo in the Great Ape house.

    Also, I’ve recycled an old printer that no longer worked at Besy Buy before.

  • PDleftMtP

    Do make sure you wipe your hard drive before you drop it off for recycling. There are numerous shareware and freeware utilities to do so.

  • Support the Armed Forces Foundation programs for families of military members by donating old cell phones etc.

  • Support the Armed Forces Foundation’s programs for family assistance for wounded service members by donating mobile devices;

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