So.  We have a kaput microwave oven and two defunct TV’s.  The only kind of e-waste the city takes is computers and cell phones.  How to dispose?

Upon investigation, it appears we have 3 options:

1. Put them out on the curb.  They will be taken to a landfill, there to leach toxic substances into the groundwater.  (The average CRT TV has 10 pounds of lead.)

2. Take them to a special drop-off event or scrap dealer.  Odds are, the junk will then be dismantled under unsafe working conditions by prisoners or workers in developing nations. 

3. Pay a “responsible recycler” – a qualification that, apparently, is achieved merely by signing a pledge – to take them off our hands.   It’s an “honor system.”  Are there any controls?  Audits?  Nope.  Sorry, no.  I’m not going to pay a company to “responsibly recycle” my hazardous waste, if there’s no assurance they’re not simply going to turn around and do option #1 or 2.

All of these options SUCK.  I want to do the right thing, and am willing to put some effort and money into it – but there doesn’t seem to be a right thing.