University of Wisconsin–Madison
Laptop displaying recycling symbol

Earth Day tip: How to recycle your old electronics on campus

Many of us love having the latest and greatest electronic gadgets. But our drive to upgrade has a dark side. It has created a growing supply of electronic waste containing toxic or hazardous elements such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury that can leak into the ground if not disposed of properly. Moreover, many valuable elements like gold and silver end up in landfills when they could be recycled. Being a responsible citizen, DoIT contributes to the solution with our electronics recycling program.

Note: DoIT can only accept personal computer components. For university-owned equipment, see SWAP for details on how to properly dispose of the item.

DoIT will accept

  • Computers
  • Monitors
  • CD drives
  • Hard drives
  • Printers
  • Computer components from any manufacturer

DoIT cannot accept

  • Cell phones or landline telephones: Cell phone recycling is available at Union South and in the 333 East Campus Mall lobby
  • Hazardous waste or contaminated items
  • Batteries that are not an integral part of the system being recycled
  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems
  • Damaged batteries of any kind
  • Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)
  • Toner Cartridges

How you can dispose of your unwanted electronics

Just bring your old computer components to the DoIT Help Desk located in the Computer Science building (1210 W Dayton Street) to have it recycled properly and securely.

Remember to delete sensitive information, back-up necessary files, and then bring it in. We use Universal Recycling Technologies (URT) of Janesville, a recycler that meets federal standards when it comes to privacy and deleting sensitive information.

The batteries that often power our electronics have different methods of disposal. View the interactive campus recycling map to find drop off locations.

Recycling can make a difference

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.

For every million cell phones we recycle, we can recover:

  • 35 thousand pounds of copper
  • 772 pounds of silver
  • 75 pounds of gold
  • 33 pounds of palladium

For more information on other ways to recycle your used electronics, see the EPA’s Electronics Donations and Recycling page.