Out with the old electronics? Learn how to recycle them here!

Electronics Recycling
Electronics Recycling December 16, 2020

Are electronics recyclable?  You bet they are!  But please do not place unwanted electronics in your blue recycling bin.

Montgomery County residents and businesses may recycle electronics by bringing them to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station. Our electronics drop-off is open daily, and is located in the Recycling Area of the Transfer Station site.

Residents are responsible for the off-loading of material from their vehicles.

What items are accepted as electronics?

Accepted items include

  • Activity/Fitness trackers (wristbands or chips)
  • Alarm clocks
  • Answering Machines
  • Audio equipment
  • Cable/satellite boxes and devices
  • Cables (e.g., audio cables, computer cables, networking cables, power cables)
  • Calculators
  • Chips and cards
  • Circuit boards
  • Computers and related items
    • Computer disks
    • Computer monitors (CRTs and flat screen)
    • Computer mice and keyboards
    • CPUs
    • Docking stations
    • Flash drives
    • Floppy disks
    • Hard drives
    • Laptops
    • Mainframes
    • Modems
    • Network hubs
    • Peripherals
    • Servers
    • Tablets
    • Terminals
    • Thumb drives
  • Copiers
  • Cords and communication wires (e.g., copper wire, phone wire, coaxial cable and computer wire)
  • Diagnostic/Sensing/Control equipment
  • Digital cameras and memory cards
  • Digital home thermostats
  • Electronic games and toys
  • Electronic reading devices
  • Electronic power generators (like solar panel electronic accessories & light fixtures)
  • Electronic smartwatches
  • Fax machines
  • GPS devices
  • Headphones & wireless technology (such as Bluetooth)
  • Holiday string lights
  • Home security systems
  • Music playing devices
    • Cassette players
    • CD Players
    • Record players
    • Recorders
    • MP3 players
  • Portable Chargers
  • Power Supplies
  • Printers and printer drums
  • Projectors
  • Radar detectors
  • Radios
  • Scanners
  • Stereos
  • Switching boxes
  • Telephones
  • Cell phone
  • Landline
  • Televisions
  • Typewriters
  • VCR/DVR/DVD or Blu-ray players and discs
  • Video cameras
  • Video game consoles and controllers

All collected items are recycled.

What items are not accepted as electronics?

Our electronics recycling program does not accept these items

  • Audiotapes
  • Videotapes

However, these items are accepted for recycling through other recycling programs, which you can locate through these resources

May I deliver electronic items with a truck?

Yes, you may use a truck you own, borrow, or rent to deliver electronic items to us.

What happens to my computer and data after recycling drop-off?

The electronics you bring to us may go to

  • our U.S.-based electronics recycling contractor, or
  • local and international groups that are organized as non-profit organizations under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The County’s recycling contractor and non-profit partners may destroy via disassembly or refurbish computers for reuse. The contractor also may recover metals and plastic components from the computers and sell them.

The County requires its contractor and non-profit partners to erase data from equipment that will be reused and to destroy remaining memory devices.

While we take reasonable measures to work with reputable companies and organizations, we recommend that you protect against unauthorized use of personal information. Use a data-wiping tool to erase personal data before dropping electronics off for recycling.

Examples of “personal information” include

  • Internet browser’s cache, cookies, history
  • email contacts and messages
  • documents
  • recycle bin or trash folder items
  • passwords to cloud services
  • all nontransferable software

You can find data-wiping tools online at no cost.

Where may I donate working computers and other electronic items?

A resource listing of several organizations for reuse opportunities.

Check the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s list of local donation opportunities, which includes computers.

Local computer reuse organizations also accept donations of computers and related items.

I can’t bring my electronics to the Transfer Station or Community-Based Drop-off Events. What other eCycling options do I have?

A variety of organizations offer trade-in, take back or drop-off programs. Some of them provide this service at no cost for to you, some charge you a fee, and others may offer credit towards the purchase of new equipment.

Community-based options




12 comments on "Out with the old electronics? Learn how to recycle them here!"

  1. Amy Maron says:

    This is very, very helpful! Thank you! I can’t wait for curbside collection if that ever gets off the ground.

  2. My brother has been thinking about recycling his electronics to make sure that he can be more environmentally friendly. He would really like to get some help from a professional in order to be more effective. I liked what you said about how their memory devices should delete their data in order to be reused.

  3. Victoria says:

    Each and everything you have written above is mind-blowing and appreciable. I hope your content will helpful for me. Thanks and share more like this.

  4. BLF49 says:

    Your list is well done and complete. In terms of environmental impact, I continue to be impressed with things like this, Also the growing interest in public transit and new traffic calming projects. While your policy is here is excellent, and seems up to date, your procedures seem stuck in the 1960s.

    Not all of us drive. Not all of use should drive. (In my case, my vision is barely good enough; I could get a license, but it would be safer for everyone if I did not.) I understand the county cannot undertake electronics pick up for every home in the county. Your alternatives are good, but I have no idea if they will be a help.

    As we all look to decrease our dependence on single rider autos, and our commitment to aging in place, the county should consider clearer procedures for non-driving seniors.

  5. Much obliged to you for this educational and valuable blog! I ended up being anxious with something but at this point my musings is clear.

  6. This is quite beneficial! Thank you very much! If sidewalk pickup ever gets off the ground.

  7. It’s helpful to read that there are materials in very normal items like CD players and other kinds of electronic devices that can be easily recycled. Considering how many of these we have at home that aren’t used anymore, I can bet that we can find those materials in them and get some money back from taking them to a processing center. I’ll gather up everything we have and look for any recycling plants we can take those items to for sure.

  8. I appreciated you pointing out that the data from the equipment must be erased. My friend wants to get their computer recycled. I should advise him to seek help from a computer recycling service.

  9. Mia Evans says:

    I totally agree when you said that it is still important to protect yourselves from any unauthorized use of personal information when getting electronics recycled. I can imagine how it can be applicable to recycled financial equipment, especially when it is used by a huge company. There might be lots of details there that can be used by criminals if not secure or removed first.

  10. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!

  11. It’s interesting to learn what happens when you recycle electronic items. I have an uncle who wants to get rid of old electronics to make room in his garage for his new sports gear. I’ll suggest he looks for a recycling center to get rid of his items in a responsible way.

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