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Recycle Technologies has been delivering recycling services to the community since 1993. As a recycling and shredding company based in the Midwest, we operate licensed facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Notably, Recycle Technologies stands as the sole Minority-Owned document destruction and recycling enterprise in the Midwest region.

Why It Is Illegal To Throw Away Electronics? Why does Electronics Recycling matter?

August 29, 2023
Did you know that just one computer thrown in the trash creates a carbon footprint nearly impossible to...

Did you know that just one computer thrown in the trash creates a carbon footprint nearly impossible to revert? In light of the severe effects, many states in the US have made it illegal to throw away electronics as a way to mainstream electronic recycling. This way, there is a better chance to minimize the ecological damage e-waste poses. 

Recycle Technologies has operated as a leading electronics recycling company in Minnesota and Wisconsin for the past 30 years. Our e-waste recycling centers offer a 100-mile radius of coverage area. We understand that with each passing year, we need more electronic recycling to curb the global 40 million tons of electronics thrown away yearly. 

We offer some important reasons why throwing away electronics in this blog is still illegal and the long-term consequences if all states do not adopt e-waste recycling. Read till the end to find more. 

Hazards of Improper E-waste Disposal

Electronic gadgets contain harmful substances and flame-retardant elements, which could lead to severe cognitive impairments in young children. Additionally, components found in electronic waste, like batteries, frequently encompass dangerous elements like lead and cadmium. These substances can potentially be released into the environment, posing risks if not appropriately managed during disposal.

Fluorescent bulbs, barometers, thermometers, etc., all contain mercury in elemental form. By throwing away mercury-containing waste, the mercury compounds leach into water bodies, making the fish inedible. When hazardous materials from electronics contaminate the surrounding environment, they pose significant health risks to humans, animals, and plant life.

What Constitutes Electronic Recycling?

Electronics recycling constitutes obtaining valuable metals after shredding the devices into tiny pieces. Next comes the recycling part, where some small pieces are renewed to make new devices with the same building blocks.  

The high-tech gadgets we use daily rely on various materials, including iron, gold, aluminum, palladium, platinum, lithium, copper, and polymers. Raw materials are mined, shipped, processed, refined, and used in manufacturing. Getting virgin materials every time we need to make a smartphone, we have to waste energy, release greenhouse gasses, contaminate the environment, and deplete natural resources because of it. 

Electronics Recycling and Eligible Devices 

Electronics recycling is not exclusive to modern electronics: many recycling companies tackle VCRs, computers, televisions, copiers, fax machines, and stereos. In fact, at Recycle Technologies, we have experts dealing with proper segregation, destruction, and renovation of every component, down to its fundamental elements. That is why we accept all kinds of electronic waste for recycling. Some of them are:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Servers
  • Monitors
  • Fax Machines, Printers,
  • Scanners, Copiers,
  • Microwaves
  • Televisions (no restrictions)
  • Cell Phones, Keyboards, Cables, Mice

Why It Is Illegal to Throw Away Electronics

The following are the two main reasons it is illegal to throw away electronics in many parts of the world. These include:

E-waste Health Risks

Electronic waste contains harmful substances that raise considerable health worries for humans and wildlife alike. When electronic devices break down in landfills or are burned, they emit toxic chemicals into the air, contributing to air pollution. Those engaged in inadequate recycling practices are especially susceptible to these health dangers, as they encounter toxic substances without the necessary safeguards for protection.

Even then, there is no guarantee that you will not get exposed to such toxins. Eating various fish and plants can do it if you are not careful. E-waste recycling responsibly is the only way we can mitigate these health risks. 

Privacy Concerns

Not every electronic device was made the same – we must take care of all those electronics that can retrieve or store information. Discarding them without proper data erasure can lead to identity theft and privacy breaches. 

Even if devices are broken, skilled individuals can retrieve data from them. E-waste recycling through authorized channels ensures that data is securely wiped, reducing the risk of data breaches and identity theft.

Electronics Recycling

Electronic Recycling Laws and Regulations

Governments worldwide have recognized the urgency of addressing e-waste and have implemented regulations to curb improper disposal. Many countries have enacted laws that prohibit or restrict electronics disposal in landfills. 

Since Recycle Technologies primarily deals with electronic waste recycling in Minnesota and Wisconsin, let's look at the laws and regulations in those states. 

Electronic Recycling Laws in Minnesota

According to the state's Pollution Control Agency, TVs, and computer screens must be recycled in Minnesota. You can't just throw them away like that. Even though the state laws suggest proper disposal of bulky electronics like cathode ray tube TVs or monitors, they do not account for more minor, recent tech like modern car keys, USB, etc. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency does compel its residents to drop off their e-waste to recycling facilities like ours. 

Electronic Recycling Laws in Wisconsin

Since 2010, all Wisconsin residents must abide by the Wisconsin E-waste Recycling Law. This law states residents cannot dump specific electronic devices in landfills and incinerators. These devices include computers and other accessories, TVs, VCRs, DVD players and DVRs, and fax machines. This list of items (Eligible Electronics Devices or EEDs) does not include phones, video cameras, or music players. 

According to the Wisconsin law, there is now a total ban on some electronic devices (primarily those containing mercury).  


As society continues to embrace technological advancements, the issue of electronic waste cannot be ignored. It is essential to recognize why throwing away electronics is illegal and the implications of improper disposal. 

By understanding the environmental, legal, health, and privacy concerns associated with e-waste, Recycle Technologies is promoting the ability to take proactive steps to recycle and dispose of our electronic devices responsibly. Through proper recycling programs and increased awareness, we can collectively contribute to a cleaner environment, conserve valuable resources, and safeguard our planet's future.

Responsible electronics recycling is the only acceptable option for legally throwing out electronic trash. If you want to be a part of responsible recycling, get a free quote from Recycle Technologies today and get the complete details. 

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Recycle Technologies has been providing services to the community since 1993. We are a Midwest-based recycling and shredding company.
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