MASON CITY, Iowa - If you received a new laptop or phone this Christmas, you may be wondering what to do with your old one.
You shouldn't just throw it away; in fact, the Department of Natural Resources says to recycle your E-waste.
Electronics often contain lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxins that can contaminate groundwater if left in a landfill. According to the Iowa DNR, E-waste accounts for about 40% of the lead and 75% of the heavy metals found in landfills.
Discount Computer Repair in Mason City accepts all kinds of electronics for recycling. The business turns the recyclables to an individual who knows how to get the good stuff out.
"He'll take the motherboards out of stuff and sell those, and the hard drives he cuts in two, he wants the aluminum out of those. And any steel he scraps out," co-owner Loren Bitker said.
But if you have a device that contains a cathode ray tube (or CRT), like an older TV set, Bitker says it's a different story.
"Some of these guys bust the necks open for a lousy little 10 cent piece of copper, and it's full of phosphorus gas, a real hazardous gas. That's why we aren't allowed to do anything with them other than take them to the dump."
Other options to recycle your old electronics in Cerro Gordo County include the Landfill of North Iowa and T&S General Hauling.
In Minnesota, the Olmsted County Recycling Center Plus, and Waste Management locations in Albert Lea and Austin will take your old gear. In addition, both Best Buy locations in Rochester and Mason City accept electronics for recycling.