2016-04-01 / Community

Sustainable SoPo

What is ‘E-waste and how should it be dealt with?

In South Portland, what should we do with our electronic waste or “E-waste” when we’re finished with it?

First, what is electronic waste or E-waste? As the name implies, anything electronic (any materials that use electricity) and is no longer of use to you, whether it works or not. Televisions, lamps, radios, small appliances, large appliances, computers, cell phones, stereo equipment, electric tools, etc. All of these items have a life span or we may want to/need to upgrade them occasionally, so where should we put them once we’ve decided they need to go?

We should not put them in our green bins and the city does not have large-item curbside pickup. It’s especially important not to toss air conditioning units, televisions and refrigerators in the regular trash. Below are several options to help reduce the weight of our curbside trash while also extending its life or seeing that it gets recycled properly.

There’s a saying that “one person’s trash is another’s treasure,” so maybe the “waste” part of E-waste should be reconsidered or re-named. If we think of it in terms of E-recycling (electronic recycling) we can, once again, think of electronics in terms of the three R’s: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. Do you really need that larger flat screen or the latest tablet? Once you purchase an item, try and use it for its life span. If the item is still in working order, would a friend or family member like to have it? Consider donating it to a nonprofit of your choice.

If your item is broken or no longer works, a good place to start is the place where you purchased it, especially with small or large appliances and cell phones. Many stores are now set up to recycle your used or broken items.

Goodwill Industries is willing to take many electronic items. The following is a list of what they will/will not take and the conditions in which they will accept it. We are lucky to have two donation centers in South Portland:

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England

555 Maine Mall Rd. and Millcreek Plaza; goodwillnne.org.

Goodwill gladly accepts:

 Computers, printers and accessories (in any condition)

 Lamps in working order

 Small appliances and microwave ovens

 Televisions, non-CRT (flat screen TVs in working condition)

Goodwill cannot accept:

 Copiers

 Hair dryers w/o GFI

 Halogen lamps w/o mesh guard

 Humidifiers

 Large appliances

 Televisions, CRT (tube style TVs in any condition)

Our own South Portland Transfer Facility at 929 Highland Ave. also accepts many appliances and small electronics (for a fee). You can call them at 767-7671. Its hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. See their website or call for specific fees and rules. Under southportland.org, see under “Residents” then click on “Rubbish and Recycling.”

Lastly, our neighbors in Portland hold four electronic drop-off events per year and the next one is coming up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at Woodbury Campus Center, 45 Bedford St., USM Portland campus. The event is free.

The South Portland Energy and Recycling Committee meets the third Wednesday of each month at the South Portland Community Center. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

Return to top