Where to recycle and donate electronic waste in the GTA

Whether it’s an old laptop, an old phone or an old camera, lots of us have unused electronics lying around our houses. If you’ve been meaning to throw out your electronic waste but don’t know which organization will accept it, then you’re in the right place. Read on to learn which charities, organizations and for-profit companies will accept electronic waste, either to donate to those in need of equal access to the Internet or to dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly manner.

ReBOOT Canada accepts donations of laptop and desktop computers (both PC and Apple), flat monitors, mice, keyboards, printers, routers, hard drives, digital cameras, video cameras, speakers, cell phones and more. They suggest grouping similar items together and writing your name and the date of your donation on masking tape attached to each item you are donating. You can fill out an online donation form, and you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt for the fair market value of your donation via email. Check out reBOOT Canada’s website to learn more.

Free Geek Toronto is another organization which accepts electronic waste. The organization’s goal, according to their website, is “to promote social and economic justice, focusing on marginalized populations in the Greater Toronto area.” Free Geek recycles electronic waste including cameras, cables, computers, copiers, DVD players, fax machines, keyboards, laptops, MP3 players, power cords, mobile phones, radios, LCD TVs and more. You can schedule a pickup for a Thursday between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and there is a pickup fee based on your location. You can fill out a form on Free Geek’s website to let them know what electronic items you’d like to have picked up.

TerraCycle has a free recycling program as well. You can download a shipping label from their website and send your package as a prepaid return ship. Accepted e-waste items include standard cell phones and other smart phones, certain inkjet cartridges, laptops, notebooks, netbooks and iPads. Collected electronic items are shredded and melted into hard plastic which then has the ability to be remolded into new recycled products.

TerraCycle also has an online points program, with different donation items giving you different amounts of points which can be redeemed for charitable gifts or donations to a non-profit organizations of your choice. Check out the e-waste portion of their website to learn more.

Shift Recycling, located in Toronto, also has an e-waste program. You can recycle household electronics through dropping them off at a facility. If your office or place of work has electronic items to donate, your company can schedule a pickup through the form on Shift Recycling’s website. Shift says that they keep 100 per cent of electronic waste out of landfills.

Recycle My Cell accepts all used, unwanted or discarded mobile devices which connect to a cellular network (donated phones don’t have to be functional). This includes cell phones, smartphones, wireless PDAs, external air cards and pagers. The organization also accepts cell phone batteries, headsets, chargers and other cell phone accessories. Donated cell phones are sent to recycling facilities to be refurbished or dismantled, and the scrap materials are used to build new mobile devices and other items.

Recycle My Cell has a large variety of drop off locations across Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Toronto and several other nearby cities (and if there is not a drop off location near you, you can also print a prepaid shipping label). You can also host a drop-off location in your community to contribute more electronic waste. Find the drop off location closest to you, and learn more, on Recycle My Cell’s website.

ADL Process Electronics Recycling, located in Toronto, recycles smartphones, cell phones and cordless phones, modems, routers, fax machines, pagers, answering machines, TVs, DVD players, CD players, MP3 players, cameras, headphones, radios, speakers and more (even small household appliances!). ADL Process removes and recycles items for businesses and institutional customers. Visit their website to learn more.

Dell Reconnect offers an e-waste drop off program in partnership with Goodwill. You can search on Dell’s website to find a participating Goodwill location near you. They accept any brand of computer in any condition, as well as computer accessories such as printers, scanners, hard drives, keyboards, mice, speakers, cords, cables, ink and toner cartridges and software with the license key included. Dell recommends contacting the Goodwill location you plan to donate to so that you can ask if they also accept other forms of electronic waste such as TVs, cell phones or tablets.

Depending on where you live, your region may also offer electronic waste pickup services. The region of Halton offers drop offs at the Halton Waste Management Site, during a Special Waste Drop-Off Day or through their e-waste diversion program, Recycle My Electronics. You can find more information about all three of these programs by following this link. Peel Region accepts e-waste at its Community Recycling Centres. More information is available on their website. It is important to note that in both regions, electronic waste is not accepted at the curb.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations across the GTA accept electronic waste, and TVs up to 29” which are intact which are not cracked or damaged. Electronic waste is sold to, and recycled through, a partner organization in a safe and responsible way. Funds from selling e-waste helps Habitat to continue on its mission of building safe, decent and affordable homes for local families.

You can drop off your donation at a Habitat ReStore in your area. Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga represents Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills and Georgetown. Habitat for Humanity GTA serves Brampton, Caledon, Toronto, Scarborough and the region of York. Habitat Durham represents Ajax Oshawa and Uxbridge, and Habitat Hamilton serves the region of Hamilton. You can find the ReStore location closest to you by entering your ZIP code into Habitat for Humanity Canada’s ReStore locator.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores also accept a variety of other items, including furniture, appliances, home decor items, tools, plumbing supplies, flooring, windows, doors, clothing, kitchen cabinetry and more. A full list of accepted donation items is available on Habitat’s ReStore website. Habitat offers free home pickup as well, and you can schedule your free donation pickup through a form on the Habitat website. Proceeds from items sold in Habitat ReStores help Habitat build more houses for local families in need of a place to call home.

Before you donate to any of these organizations, ensure that you erase or back-up any personal information or files from your electronic devices and remove your SIM card or storage drive. You can also contact the organization you wish to donate to ahead of time to double check that they accept the specific pieces of electronic waste which you are looking to donate. This will make your donation process as smooth as possible for both yourself and the organization to which you are donating your electronic items.

Donating your e-waste ensures that it will be dealt with in a responsible and ethical manner. You can be confident that you’re making a good decision in terms of the environmental impact of your donation. Many of these organizations specialize in disposing of e-waste, so they will recycle your items correctly and efficiently.

Don’t wait — donate your old, used or wanted cellphones and other electronic waste today. You can declutter your home, help the environment and feel good about contributing to a local organization’s efforts to recycle and reuse electronic waste, and keep it out of a landfill whenever possible.

By Sherina Harris