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Techno Trash

What is techno trash anyway? According to Washington & Lee University, Techno Trash is a name for all of the common electronic equipment and peripherals that are endemic to the ‘digital age’. There are a lot of valuable (and sometimes toxic) materials in techno trash so it is important to reuse and recycle these items instead of throwing them in the trash. Items like a cellphone, printer, and computer are considered techno trash items.

At Life Easier our mission is to protect client mental health while keeping disposed of items out of landfills and building the community around us in partnership with our clients. Recycling techno trash is one way we are able to serve our clients while protecting the environment.

While Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Services does a phenomenal job of providing computer, electronic cords, appliance and TV disposal at their four drop off centers around Charlotte, there is no solution for things like VHS tapes, cassette tapes, beta or old CD’s.  Enter Life Easier!  We have your solution.

At Life Easier, we bulk ship all old client techno trash to a facility outside of North Carolina to a company called GreenDisk which is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, but has a processing facility in Ohio. They do things like turn VHS tapes into restaurant to go containers! Cool, right? We are major advocates for the circular economy and we make sure we work with vendors like GreenDisk to ensure their survival as well as our little planet.

If you want to be more green, here’s a list of what you can handle locally in Mecklenburg county vs. what you can ship to GreenDisk. Happy Recycling!!!!

Did you know? 

In North Carolina, it is illegal to dispose of a TV, or computer in a landfill.  Your curbside collector in Mecklenburg county will not pick up TVs or computers with your trash.

Here’s what Mecklenburg County will take (From Mecklenburg County’s website.)

  • Mecklenburg County will process residential plug-in type electronics at no cost when you bring them to one of the Full Service Drop Off Centers. There is a limit of 3 TVs or monitors.
  • What Mecklenburg county takes for recycling at the Full Service Drop Off Centers:
    • Monitor
    • Telephone equipment
    • Printers
    • Cables
    • Computers
    • Cords
    • Keyboards
    • Power supplies
    • Scanners
    • Electronic typewriters
    • Copiers
    • Televisions (subject to limit and fees)
    • Dumb Terminals
    • VCRs
    • Assemblies
    • Stereos
    • Speakers
    • Projection equipment
    • Mouse units
    • Headphones
    • Fax machines
    • Digital cameras

Here are the four full service drop off center addresses – 

  • North Mecklenburg Recycling Center, 12300 N. Statesville Road, Huntersville, NC 28078
  • Hickory Grove Recycling Center, 8007 Pence Road, Charlotte, NC 28215
  • Foxhole Recycling Center, 17131 Lancaster Highway, Charlotte, NC 28277
  • Compost Central and Recycling Center, 140 Valleydale Road, Charlotte, NC 28214

Mecklenburg County – What they can’t take:

  • Cannot recycle VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, Blue Ray discs, Beta, and any of their jewel cases.
  • Items such as broken vacuum cleaners, toys, may be thrown away with your regular trash.

However, GreenDisk CAN take many of the items not accepted in Mecklenburg County!

Green Disk offers a self-service option called the Pack-IT service. Check the list of what they accept here and then follow the simple instructions below: 

  • Using a very sturdy box fill it with any of the acceptable items from the GreenDisk list below.
  • Buy a shipping label from GreenDisk.  Note the pricing is based the weight of the filled taped box.  To get the weight of your box, stand on a regular scale by yourself and then stand on it with your box in your hands.  Subtract your weight from your weight with the box and viola! You have the weight of just the box.
  • The label will be sent to your email.  Print the label and tape it to the top of your box.  To protect your label from rain it is advised to cover the label thoroughly with clear packing tape. That way it is protected from rain, but also the US postal service can still see through it. Buying the label is how GreenDisk covers their costs for recycling your techno trash.

Here is where to buy the label – 

https://www.greendisk.com/gdsite/pack-itservices.aspx

  • Go to the US post office and pay for postage to ship this.  The postage covers the US postal service’s work and costs to ship your product to GreenDisk’s processing facility in Dublin, Ohio.  If you are sending VHS tapes, cassette tapes or any other media you can ask the US post office you are working with for the lower cost “media rate.”  It will take longer to get to GreenDisk, but it won’t cost you as much.

Once you’ve paid your postage and the US post office has taken your package, you are done.  You’ve just supported not only green jobs related to recycling, but you’ve also kept out of landfills very toxic materials.  BRAVO!!!!!