Electronic Recycling 101 Guide

As everyone gears up for holiday gift giving and especially Black Friday sales on technology, it’s a great time to think about how to recycle old electronics like TVs, game consoles, or laptops.

Every year, approximately 40 million tons of electronic waste are generated worldwide. To put it in perspective, that is the equivalent of throwing away 800 laptops every second. E-waste items take hundreds of years to break down, leaking harmful toxins into our air, water, and soil.

Diverting harmful and potentially valuable e-waste from landfills is crucial to BARC’s mission. Since only 12.5% of E-waste is recycled, we want to encourage everyone to responsibly dispose of their “old” tech. This guide will dive into what electronic recycling is, what electronic items can be recycled, and how to recycle with BARC so you can help divert harmful E-waste from landfills!

What is Electronic Recycling?

Electronic recycling is the process of adequately recycling electronic devices near or at the end of their useful life. This includes TVs, computers, coffee pots, space heaters, printers, entertainment devices, DVD players, mobile phones, batteries, and gaming consoles. Certified E-waste Recyclers like BARC will either reuse, repurpose, or recycle these items by breaking them down and sorting them into smaller valuable pieces.

What Electronic Items can be Recycled?

All electronic items with a cord, battery, or screen can be recycled as long as they are taken to a suitable facility. Here at Bay Area Recycling For Community, we have an extensive list of electronic items that can be recycled with us. We take everything from a large flat-screen TV to miscellaneous wires for a small recycling fee. To find out more, check out our pricing sheet.

Appliance Recycling vs. Electronics Recycling

Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers are technically electronic; however, they are not considered E-waste. This is because these household appliances contain Freon. Freon is a non-combustible gas that needs to be appropriately discharged from appliances before they can be safely recycled. So, these appliances can not be recycled with all the other E-waste items. Luckily, BARC also does appliance recycling in case you find a great deal on a new appliance this Black Friday!

How to Recycle Electronics with BARC

Bay Area Recycling for Community will recycle most items with a cord, battery, or screen. Here in Northern Michigan, we are actually the largest TV recycler-s, so you can trust us to get the job done right! We work with the organization E-Recycle TC to properly recycle, reuse or repurpose old electronics. E-Recycle TC is a Traverse City-based company that collects and recycles electronics from large and small businesses or organizations throughout Northern Michigan. Below, you will find more information on our recycling program at both BARC locations.

Traverse City

You can drop off electronics at our Traverse City facility near Chums Corner by the Pitspitters Baseball Stadium at 466 US 31 South, Traverse City, MI 49685. This is where a majority of our waste is collected and then sorted. We accept and encourage electronic drop-offs on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any drop-offs outside of this window. To learn more about our E-waste pricing, refer to the Electronics Recycling section in our pricing sheet.

Pick-Up Service

If you cannot visit our Traverse City location, we will pick up any E-waste items within 35 miles of Traverse City for a $75 fee. To schedule a pick-up, fill out our Schedule a Pick-Up Form.


Our Kaleva facility is 15 minutes south of Thompsonville on the north of Kaleva at 14407 Industrial Dr. Kaleva, MI 49645. At the Kaleva location, we process and ship out our E-waste. We gladly accept electronic drop-offs on weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm or if prior arrangements are made.  If electronics are still in working condition and may be resold at our Kaleva Resale Shop, they can be donated to us on a case-by-case basis. Please explore our Kaleva Donation Guidelines to learn more.

What Happens to Electronics that are Recycled with BARC?

Now that we have discussed how easy it is to recycle with BARC, it’s time to talk about what happens to electronic items after we receive them.

TV Recycling

Did you know that two thin sheets of glass are sandwiched together to make a flat-screen LCD TV? These glass sheets are precious to BARC as we can give them to a company that makes ceramic tiles. These ceramic tiles can then be used to elevate a bathroom or kitchen floor during a sustainable home remodeling process!

Battery Recycling

Some old electronics will have batteries that can be used to make new batteries using a process called density sorting. The old batteries are separated into usable components during the density sorting process. For example, the lead ingots in old batteries can be recovered and used to make new battery grids. The new batteries are used until they become old, and then the recycling process can continue.

Now that you know exactly how to recycle electronics with BARC, you can properly prepare for the 2022 holiday shopping season. Happy holidays!