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.