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California Offers Many Holiday E-Waste Recycling Options

Aired 12/2/13 on KPBS News.

If a new laptop, smartphone or TV shows up among your gifts this holiday season, there are an increasing number of ways in California to responsibly get rid of the old one.

If a new laptop, smartphone or TV shows up among your gifts this holiday season, there are an increasing number of ways in California to responsibly get rid of the old one.

Jeff Hunts, with CalRecycle, the state's recycling agency, said everyday devices like computer monitors and TVs can be filled with heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury.

"It doesn't belong in the trash, in the municipal waste stream," Hunts said. "It should be managed via recycling."

Hunts said those materials can leach out in a landfill and contaminate ground water.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's Sheila Davis said charities like Salvation Army are good options for extending the life of an item.

"Reusing or repairing something is better than recycling it. So you want to reuse, repair and then recycle as a last resort," Davis said.

Cal Recycle recommends visiting erecycle.org to find a list of responsible recyclers and charities.

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