According to the Consumer Electronics Association, Americans now own approximately 24 electronic products per household, and annual electronics sales in the U.S. are greater than $206 billion. Unfortunately, when it comes to disposing of unwanted electronics, many consumers are unaware of proper disposal methods and electronics either collect dust or end up in landfills.

As much as you may want to deny it, I’m assuming you have at least two unused electronics in your home. So how can you get rid of those items?

Sure, you could just throw it in the trash, but then you are putting hazardous materials like lead, arsenic and mercury into landfills. If these items are thrown out with regular trash, they will be crushed, burned and recycled along with other materials that may be reused, but in the process, the mishandled electronic waste can release very harmful gases resulting in air and water pollution. Carelessly disposing of electronics can do a real number on the environment.

In order to save space in your home and protect the environment, you should properly recycle your e-waste. Below are five easy tips to help you recycle your electronics responsibly.

1. Determine the type of e-waste you have.

E-waste comes in many forms, so you need to be aware of the type of electronic you have in order to recycle it properly. Generally speaking, e-waste includes computer hardware, wires, video cameras, TVs, DVD players, cell phones, and more. E-waste can also include household items like vacuums, irons, electric shavers, and electric fans.

2. Check your city’s regulations on disposing of electronics.

Most cities have laws in place banning certain electronics from landfills. Under a state law that took effect July 1, 2011, televisions, computers and related computer equipment are banned from landfills in North Carolina.

3. Delete all personal information from devices.

This tip is especially important for all computers, tablets, and cell phones. Before you recycle your electronics, be sure to wipe the hardware clear of all information. Some recycling centers will do that for you, but it’s as easy as backing up your data, and then clearing the hard drive of information.

4. Donate to recycling centers.

Donating your unwanted electronics is easy. All you need to do is find an organization or company that will dispose of your e-waste for you. In some instances, these companies will pay you for your unwanted items! Charlotte has many donation centers, including:

5. Find a local junk removal company that disposes of e-waste responsibly.

What’s more convenient than having someone remove your unwanted e-waste for you? At The Junkluggers, we bring your e-waste to facilities that strictly adhere to EPA regulations.

About Guest Blogger Bryan Rainey, Owner of Junkluggers of North Charlotte

Bryan Rainey and his sons, Josh and Caleb, are the owners of The Junkluggers of North Charlotte, a locally based, eco-friendly junk removal company that donates 60 percent of unwanted items removed. Junkluggers offers full-service junk removal for homes and businesses including offices, retail locations, construction sites, and more. When they aren’t removing junk throughout Charlotte, the Raineys spend their time volunteering with the Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, St. Jude’s, and the National Artist Association.