Action Sheet 003: Your Hidden Toxic Waste (and What You Can Do About It)

Is your home turning into a temporary e-waste storage facility? You're not alone.

Is your home turning into a temporary e-waste storage facility? You're not alone. Plenty of us have old computer monitors, cell phones or other electronic components and gadgets cluttering our basements and junk drawers. By now, most folks realize that just tossing these toxin-laden goods into the trash is a bad idea, and that doing so will likely contaminate air and groundwater near the landfill with harmful chemicals.

And, unfortunately, curbside pickup of e-waste is extremely rare. How to get rid of this stuff, then? We talked to Barbara Kyle, the National Director of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition for advice.

1) Beware the e-waste drive. We first wanted to write this "How To" about organizing an e-waste drive for your community. Unfortunately, according to Kyle, these aren't all they're cracked up to be. "Some unscrupulous 'recyclers,'" she says, "actually export e-waste to developing countries, where it causes great harm because of the toxics." And the vast majority of community collection events work with such exporters, so the waste simply "gets loaded up on the shipping container and goes off to China or Nigeria."

2) Donate if possible. If you're just upgrading and the old phone, monitor or television still works, do your best to donate the item before discarding it. There are lots of non-profits around the country working to help reuse these items. The EPA has a good locator resource, or you can check with your local solid waste agency.

3) Go to the source. Today, 23 states covering 61 percent of the American population have electronics take back laws that mandate the recycling of electronic waste and force producers to collect and responsibly recycle the materials. See if your state is one of them and learn more about the program here.

4) Find an "e-Steward." Again, not all e-recyclers are responsible. "E-Stewards" have pledged not to dump the dangerous waste into developing countries, and they're the only way to go. Use this handy map to find a responsible "e-Steward" near you.

5) Take it back. If there's no e-Steward nearby, you can consider a manufacturers' voluntary takeback program. Check this list of electronics makers to find a summary and links to their respective programs. Most will take back the materials for free. Some even offer cash or a rebate on your next purchase. The Electronics TakeBack Coalitions can't formally endorse any of the manufacturers' programs, as none of them are themselves certified as e-Stewards, but you can look into their specific policies and make sure they've pledged not to export the waste.

6) Try retailers. If you're still struggling to find a convenient site, some retailers like Best Buy and Staples have takeback programs. Best Buy will accept e-waste at every store, and will charge you $10 (but you'll get a coupon for another purchase). Staples takes any Dell products for free, or charges $10 for other brands.

7) Send back the cell. Cell phones are easy, as there are a handful of recyclers that invite you to mail them in for free, with postage paid. Kyle recommends Capstone Wireless, where you can print a free UPS shipping label on their website, and where there's a good chance you'll even get some money back for your old phone. Or if you'd rather drop it off in person, she suggests Call2Recycle, which has drop off sites in lots of cities, which you can find using their location finder.

For a closer look at the infographic above, go here.

This post originally appeared on, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less