Walton EMC has done the homework to find local solutions that avoid the trash heap, put money in your pocket and benefit local charities
Did Santa grant your wish for the latest mobile phone or laptop? Has a new microwave or blender been added to your kitchen lineup in recent weeks? If so, about now is when you’re looking at the old electronics that were pushed into a corner to make way for the newly acquired goodies.
Most of us know that old TVs or computers shouldn’t be tossed into the trash along with paper and ribbons. Electronic waste contains toxins that can be harmful to the environment and humans. So, instead, we shove them into the basement or attic, which is already full of old appliances and electric devices we never plan to use again.
There are smarter tactics for getting rid of unwanted electronics. Walton EMC has compiled a list of resources to help you make a plan to recycle, donate or sell personal electronics, batteries and appliances.
PUBLIC RECYCLING/ DISPOSAL
- Walton County Recycling Centers accept most small household appliances, cell phones and all computer parts. Large metal appliances are also accepted at the main recycling center on Leroy Anderson Road in Monroe. Recycling is free for all Walton County residents. Electronics requiring disposal, primarily televisions, are charged $45 per ton, or about $2.25 for 100 pounds. Recycling locations and information
- Athens-Clarke County Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM) charges a $2 facility fee for residents and $5 fee for non-residents to dispose of most types of electronics, including phones and household appliances. Additional fees apply for batteries, computer and television monitors and screens. For a current list of materials accepted, check CHaRM's website. Note: CHaRM accepts electronic waste materials that can’t be recycled at Oconee County collection sites from Oconee County residents.
- Snellville Recycling Center serves both Snellville and Gwinnett County residents. The facility accepts most items with a battery or a plug for recycling. Large appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, air conditioning units and freezers are accepted for a small fee. As of September 2020, the fee for freon-containing appliances is $15 for City of Snellville residents and $25 for non-residents. Repairable appliances are set out at the front of the center for interested parties to take and repair.
- City of Snellville Residential Junk Services is available to city residents who have weekly solid waste pickup at their homes. Televisions, stereos and computers can be picked up curbside, if they are placed in blue “special city bags” purchased at Snellville Public Works or from the information desk at the Publix and Kroger stores on Scenic Highway in Snellville. The bags are sold in a box of 20 for $30.20.
- Morgan County Solid Waste & Sanitation Department accepts used electronics at its Transfer Station Recycling Center in Madison. Call (706) 342-5075 for hours and accepted items.
PHONES, COMPUTERS, TECH GADGETS
We found plenty of local businesses that will gladly take unwanted phones, tablets, fitness trackers, smartwatches and other gadgets off your hands. Many phone and electronic retailers allow trade-ins for cash, if your stuff is in pretty good condition. Check the website noted for each business to get a specific list of items it will accept.
Remember, before disposing of any tech item, make sure to completely erase all personal information. Consumer Reports offers these tips for removing personal data off your devices.
- Best Buy offers in-store trade-ins for a wide variety of electronic devices. If your unwanted tech has no value, the retailer will still accept it for recycling, regardless of where you bought it. What Best Buy recycles for free
- Dell Reconnect partners with local Goodwill stores to accept computer components, accessories and peripherals such as printers and scanners — of any brand and in any condition — for free recycling.
- Office Depot and Staples take any brand of office technology in any condition, regardless of where it was purchased, for free recycling. Office Depot also offers a trade-in program for eligible devices.
- EcoATM kiosks at local Kroger and WalMart locations are automated machines that make on-the-spot payments for unwanted smart devices.
- Cell Phones for Soldiers, a national nonprofit organization based in Alpharetta, accepts donations of old smartphones and tablets. Funds from recycled items help the organization provide cost-free communication services for members of the military.
- Online trade-ins of old mobile phones and other devices are offered by a variety of local retailers, such as WalMart, Target and AT&T. Though there is no in-store option, qualifying items ship for free. Payment is usually a gift card that can be used in local stores.
Call2Recycle bins found in Home Depot and Lowe’s stores throughout the Walton EMC service are a collection point for rechargeable batteries. These are the batteries commonly found in cordless power tools, laptops, cellphones and cameras. Any rechargeable battery, including lithium batteries, or phone that weighs less than 11 pounds is accepted for recycling. Both retailers also collect mobile phones for recycling.
Televisions are one of the trickier electronic items to dispose of. If you have a working set, try to donate it directly to a school, church, youth center, etc. Otherwise, expect to pay a fee for disposal.
- Best Buy will recycle flat-panel TVs smaller than 50 inches, tube TVs smaller than 24 inches and portable TVs. Recycling fee is $25 per item. You can take TVs to a local Best Buy; limit two per day.
- Public centers, as noted above, will dispose of most televisions for a fee. The exception is City of Snellville, which charges no additional fee for TVs left curbside with weekly garbage (as long as they are correctly bagged).
If you are retiring appliances that are in good working order, do good for others by donating them to a local thrift store that uses proceeds to benefit the community. Make sure to get a receipt so you can deduct your donation on next year's tax return.
- F.I.S.H. Thrift Stores in Monroe and Loganville accept small household appliances. The Monroe store also accepts large appliances. Proceeds benefit Faith In Serving Humanity Ministries, including a children’s summer feeding program that Walton EMC employees support as volunteers.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Athens and Lawrenceville accept working household appliances, large and small, except dishwashers.
- Goodwill, which has several locations throughout Walton EMC’s service area, will accept radios, lamps, clocks and other small appliances that are in good working order.
- Best Buy will recycle select small appliances such as stick and robot vacuums, alarm clocks and hair dryers. Large appliances can be hauled away for a fee.
There are plenty of options for keeping unwanted electronics out of the trash. Connect with these organizations and agencies to find more recycling and disposal solutions near you.