E-Waste

What is E-Waste

E-waste is typically any consumer electronic device containing circuit boards which allow the device to perform very complex tasks, from computers to complex programmable coffeemakers. 

Just because a device has an electric cord, plug, or cable, does not make it e-waste.  See the list below for what it includes and does not include. 

E-Waste Includes:  computers, laptops, electronic tablets, printers, cell phones, answering machines, VCR/DVD players, digital cameras, stereos, televisions, computer monitors, microwave ovens, thermostats, and complex programmable sewing machines and combination coffeemaker/grinders.  Technically, this also includes musical greeting cards.

E-waste Does NOT include:  cables, computer or printer cords, or consumer products which have "ready" lights or simple timers such as an iron, coffee maker, waffle iron, crock pot, etc.  Many of these devices have "gravity switches" which cause a light to come on when the device is ready. 

NOTE:  Household Hazardous Waste information can be found at mountainview.gov/HHW.

Where to Recycle

Eligibility & Services

  • Curbside Service (individual carts).  Residents subscribed to curbside service pay higher utility rates than apartments, which includes On Call Plus Clean Up by Appointment. See On Call Plus below about how to arrange services through Recology.
  • Apartments.  Residents subscribed to apartment collection pay lower utility rates than houses, but may still arrange collection for a small fee through the utility billpayer (apartment manager).  Call Recology at (650) 967-3034.  You might also be able to drop off some e-waste at the Mountain View Recycling Center, but call Recology first to check if the item is eligible for drop off at the center.  Remember that air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers are not e-waste--they contain Freon and other refrigerants that require special hanlding.  See pages 7 and 8 of the Resource Annual Guide for more information.  The Resource is mailed to all residents in January every year.
  • Businesses.  Please contact the County of Santa Clara, Household Hazardous Waste Program, Small Business Generator Services by calling (408) 299-7300 or visiting www.hhw.org.

What Happens to the E-Waste?

All e-waste collected by Recology or taken to the SMaRT Station are properly handled to destroy information on them before being recycled for metals and plastics. All data-containing devices, such as computers, laptops, hard drives, and disks are punch-pressed or shredded or crushed to destroy data and protect privacy. No whole items are reused or shipped overseas.  However, you should delete or reformat cell phones before recycling.

On Call Plus Clean Up By Appointment Program

This program is for residents subscribed to curbside service (individual carts).  Residents living in apartments with shared trash and recycling pay a lower trash rate than homes--please contact Recology for special (fee) collection. 

Recology Mountain View will pick up e-waste devices in the On Call Plus Clean Up by Appointment program for residents subscribed to curbside service (individual carts).  Contact Recology for an appointment at 650-967-3034.  Appointments may be exchanged with a Voucher to SMaRT Station. 

There is no fee for this curbside program, but you must box all small items like cell phones (remove the data card), cameras, calculators, etc.  Please write "e-waste" on the box and set it with other large e-waste items away from the rest of the clean up  materials.  Different trucks are used to collect garbage, recycling, yard trimmings, bulky goods, and e-waste.    

The following e-waste items are accepted:

  • Air conditioners*, refrigerators*, freezers*
  • Batteries (household1)
  • Cell phones2, telephones, answering machines
  • Computer monitors and laptops (fee applies for On Call curbside service but not Voucher to SMaRT)
  • Computer disk drives
  • Fax machines, calculators
  • Keyboards, mouse
  • Microwaves (and stoves*)
  • PDAs, camcorders, digital cameras
  • Printers, scanners
  • Radios, stereos, tape players/recorders
  • Televisions (fee applies for On Call but not Voucher)
  • Tires (up to 4 passenger tires) (fee applies for On Call but not Voucher)
  • VCRs, DVD players
  • Washer/dryer*
  • Water heaters*

    *Item is not an e-waste but is accepted in the On Call Plus & Voucher clean up program at no additional charge. If taken to SMaRT without a Voucher, these items have a fee.
E-waste that is not asterisked above is also accepted from residents at the Mountain View Recycling Center Drop Off.  Call Recology first at (650) 967-3034.

SMaRT Station

SMaRT Station is a municipal transfer station operated by the City of Sunnyvale in partnership with Mountain View and Palo Alto.  The SMaRT Station is located at 301 Carl Road in Sunnyvale. Call (408-752-8530) for more information or view information online.

There is no fee for Residents subscribed to Curbside Service (individual carts) using Vouchers under the On Call Plus program above.  Residents in apartments may self-haul e-waste to the SMaRT Station but a fee may be charged.
  • Batteries (household1 and vehicle)
  • Cell phones2, telephones, answering machines
  • Computer monitors, laptops, disk drives
  • Fax machines, printers, scanners, calculators
  • Fluorescent tubes, compact bulbs
  • Keyboard, mouse
  • Microwave
  • PDAs, camcorders, digital cameras
  • Radios, stereos, tape players/recorders
  • Sharps (hypodermic needles) (not e-waste but still hazardous)
  • Televisions
  • Thermometers, thermostats
  • VCRs and DVD players
1 Household batteries may also be recycled through the residential curbside program (Recology Mountain View 650-967-3034).
2 Cell phones may be taken back to retail stores. See a list of participating stores and service providers.

California Product Stewardship Council

Although we have provided a variety of ways above to help you properly dispose of these hazardous items, the costs are ultimately born by local government and ratepayers instead of by the manufacturers who produce the goods and the retailers who sell them. As a consumer you can help drive product stewardship by making informed decisions about the products you purchase, patronizing businesses with take-back programs, and encouraging manufacturers to make consumer goods with less toxicity and more recyclability. For more information on what you can do, visit California Product Stewardship Council at http://www.calpsc.org/.

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