Editor's note: This article is part of series called Keep Aiken Green, a recycling awareness and education project in cooperation with the City of Aiken and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
After birthdays and holidays, once new televisions, new PS4s, new Xbox Ones, new computers, new sound systems and more settle in, the old ones tend to be done away with.
But where those unwanted electronics actually go, according to the state health and environment department, is of utmost importance.
Electronics are quickly becoming one of the nation's largest waste streams – it has even garnered a nickname: e-waste. E-waste could be potentially harmful, DHEC information sates, because electronics can contain lead and mercury, both of which pose human and environmental health concerns.
The City of Aiken offers an electronics pick-up service. Pick-up costs $25 and is handled on regular recycling and trash days. Those interested are asked to call 803-642-7613 and set up a date.
There are also six electronics collection sites in Aiken County: New Ellenton, Belvedere, Reynolds Pond, Langley, Perry and Monetta. Each site is staffed. Hours and addresses for each can be found on the DHEC website.
Each collection site takes televisions, computers, computer monitors, printers and other electronic equipment.
In 2010, South Carolina lawmakers passed legislation to prevent electronics from ending up in landfills. Four years later, the legislation was updated to include television and computer monitor manufacturer requirements.
Keeping as much as possible – trash, recyclables and electronics included – out of local landfills is a major point of impact for Aiken Energy and Environmental Committee Chairman Ron Dellamora.
Reports by the EPA in 2014 state that more than 500,000 combined cellphones and computers are disposed of in a landfill daily.
In an earlier interview with the Aiken Standard, Dellamora said aside from bringing electronics to the proper drop-off points, unwanted and still working electronics can – and maybe should – be donated. DHEC information says people looking to get rid of still-working electronics should "consider donating."
Electronics can, often times, also be sent back to their maker: Apple, AT&T, Dell, Canon, Lenovo, Mitsubishi and a host of printer manufacturers offer their own recycling programs.
Stores such as Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Sam's Club and Walmart also operate their own take-back programs.
Businesses wishing to get rid of electronics have to follow state and federal guidelines. DHEC warns that "improperly managed electronics" can become a financial liability.
For more information from S.C. DHEC about electronics recycling, visit scdhec.gov/e-cycle.
For more information about recycling in Aiken County, visit https://bit.ly/2uAYXLY.