How To Recycle Keyboards?
Keyboards are a piece of technology that gets a lot of abuse, and they also tend to be the one device that most often ends up faulty because of an inevitable coffee spill.
And when you look at a device made of plastic and a few bits of metal, the question becomes whether it’s possible and easy to recycle them properly.
So, let’s deal with the question: are computer keyboards recyclable, and how do you do it?
Why Should You Recycle Keyboards?
You should always bring any kind of electronic device to a recycling provider, as these devices often contain a mix of materials that can either be reused or could become toxic at a landfill.
And with more keyboards breaking than computers, you can often end up with a broken keyboard and not really knowing what to do with it. Some people are tempted to just throw them in the trash because they are small.
But keyboard recycling is the right thing to do because of these important reasons:
Reduce Toxic Materials - Some older keyboards that might be gathering dust in basements and garages may contain materials that could become toxic at a landfill.
Extract raw materials - From the plastic to copper in the wiring, there are plenty of materials that can enter the cycle economy.
Reduce Greenhouse Gases - Many electronics end up exported to developing countries where they are open-air burned for easy metal extraction.
Lower demand for mining - The more raw materials you can extract, the lower the demand will be for mining raw materials like fossil fuels for plastic and different metals.
What Materials Can You Retrieve From Keyboards?
The reason recycling keyboards is the right thing to do comes down to the fact there are plenty of materials that can enter the cycle economy.
First of all, let’s look at the outer casing. For most keyboards, this will be plastic, but Apple also makes keyboards with aluminum. Both of these materials can be easily extracted and then recycled to make new electronics.
The keys are also either made of plastic or rubber, but it gets more interesting when you open up a keyboard.
What you’ll find is a mix of metals, including copper, and these can all be extracted using specialist equipment and techniques. But it’s important that you only deal with a certified and registered recycling company.
It happens too often that keyboards end up being exported to developing countries where they burn away the plastic to get the metals.
How to Recycle Keyboards?
There are five easy ways that you can deal with your old keyboards.
If your keyboard is no longer working or is simply too old to connect to modern computers, then I would advise finding a local e-waste recycling center. These companies are registered and certified to follow the best practices in the industry. And they will have all the equipment to even deal with toxic materials that might have been used in older keywords.
Municipal Waste Management
If you search for “keyboard recycling near me,” you’ll probably find that some of the results will be local waste management centers. Many of these will either directly or indirectly process electronics, which means that you can probably drop them off and know that they will be handled properly.
Manufacturer Take-Back Programs
Most electronic manufacturers have introduced take-back programs due to public and regulatory pressure. What this means is that you can often hand your old faulty keyboards back to a manufacturer, which can be especially convenient if you’re buying a new one at the same time.
If your keyboard is still working and you simply got a newer and more modern one, then consider donating it at a local charity store. Just contact them beforehand and provide them with details of the keyboard to find out if they would accept it.
It’s also possible that you can make a few bucks from selling a working keyboard. The more modern it is, the more likely that someone needs a replacement but isn’t willing to pay full price.
Where to Recycle Keyboards?
Let me now show you a few convenient options for dealing with your old keyboards.
Drop-off Recycling (For Individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area)
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you can make arrangements to drop off your old keyboard at the GreenCitizen recycling center. You simply fill out the drop-off form and list the keyboards and other items you have. Then weigh the electronics and pay the small processing fee when you drop it off at our Burlingame location.
Business Recycling Pickup (For Businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area)
For businesses that may have accumulated multiple faulty keyboards and other electronic equipment, GreenCitizen also offers a collection service. You fill out a form with all the details and then pay the fee online.
We then make arrangements to collect the devices at a convenient time for you.
Mail-in Recycling (US-Wide Service)
If you don’t live close to our recycling center, and if you don’t have an alternative close to you, then you can always use our convenient mail-in service. You simply fill out a form and pay the small processing fee. Then you can use your favorite delivery service to send the keyboard to us, and we’ll send you a confirmation of receipt.
Green Directory (US-Wide Service)
And finally, if you’d like to find a list of registered recycling providers near you that can handle electronics like keyboards, then
use the Green Directory as a convenient search tool. Simply add your zip code and what you want to recycle, and you’ll receive
a list of places that will accept it.
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