University of Wisconsin–Madison
Laptop displaying recycling symbol

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

It’s no secret that our drive to have the latest gadgets has also created a growing supply of older electronics. Computer components contain toxic or hazardous elements (i.e. lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and more) that can leak into the ground if not disposed of properly. Being a responsible citizen, the Division of Information Technology tries to alleviate some of the problem with our electronics recycling program.

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, and
  • computer components from any manufacturer

DoIT cannot accept

  • 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) that have been removed from their cases, or CRTs that are cracked or broken
  • Telephones (including cell phones) Cell phone recycling is available at Union South and in the 333 East Campus Mall lobby
  • 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 latest information from the 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, and
    • 33 pounds of palladium

Edit: reference to recycling ink cartridges removed; while we used to recycle ink cartridges, we can no longer do so.