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Expert reveals super easy way to legally dispose of electronics: 'Was anyone going to tell me it's illegal?'

Redwood Materials offers a simple way to get rid of unwanted electronics without the hassle of transporting them to a recycling center.

Redwood Materials makes e-waste recycling easy

Photo Credit: @ loveofearthco / Tiktok

While many Americans don't know it, throwing your electronics in an ordinary trash can for pickup is actually illegal in some states. Thankfully, there's still a low-effort way to recycle these items without leaving your house. 

TikToker Love of Earth Co. (@loveofearthco) posted a video in March introducing followers to Redwood Materials, an e-waste recycler in partnership with Panasonic that will let you mail your electronics and accessories straight to them for disposal.

How does recycling with Redwood Materials work?

As Love of Earth Co. explains, Redwood Materials accepts a wide range of materials, including old power cables. 

"We're in the middle of a move, and I just keep finding cord after cord after cord," she says. "Since electronics are considered prohibited waste, meaning you can't just toss them away in the trash, I will instead be responsibly recycling them."

She then shares a shot of Redwood Materials' website

"I just quickly created a profile on their website to let them know what I'm sending, boxed up all my cords, slapped a shipping label on there, and put it out on my porch for the postman to pick up."

@loveofearthco Replying to @fashionablylattee ✅responsibly recycle your e-waste with @panasonic e-waste recyclers #redwoodmaterials 🔌♻️✅🌲 #zerowaste #panasonic #ewaste #erecycle #recycle #zerowasteliving #zerowastemove #ad #reduce #reuse #recycled ♬ I Think I Like When It Rains - WILLIS

Redwood Materials accepts a wide range of electronics, appliances, and rechargeable devices. A list of examples on their web page includes everything from laptops to hearing aids to electric power tools.

Love of Earth Co. calls the process "easy-peasy" and "guilt-free." 

"I feel so much better not sending our e-waste off to the landfills," she says.

TikTok users were shocked by how easy the process was, with some admitting they didn't know cords and other e-waste aren't supposed to go in the trash.

"Was anyone going to tell me it's illegal or were you all just going to let me keep living as a CRIMINAL," one user wrote.

"What else can you not just put in the trash?!?!?" said another.

Why should I recycle with Redwood Materials?

For residents of states where throwing out e-waste is illegal, Redwood Materials offers a simple way to get rid of unwanted electronics without the hassle of transporting them to a local recycling center. If you aren't sure whether this applies to you, you can check out this state-by-state breakdown on Recycle Nation.

Even if you can throw out e-waste normally, recycling it is a great way to keep the materials in circulation, which helps keep the cost of electronics down. In 2022, Panasonic and Redwood Materials expanded their partnership to supply the manufacturer with cathode materials and copper foil, Electrive.com reported. Arrangements like this reduce the need for costly mining.

Recycling electronics also helps protect the environment by keeping toxic materials out of landfills, reducing the need for mines that damage the environment, and reducing the energy used in manufacturing.

Are there similar programs to Redwood Materials?

Other companies also offer recycling and trade-in options for your used electronics. For example, Best Buy has a trade-in calculator that will tell you how much store credit you can get for your items, and other retailers like Target and Costco also offer deals for electronics.

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