Electronic Waste Recycling

PC towers and monitors collected at an Erase Your E*Waste event in Helena.


Electronic waste is the fastest growing portion of our wastestream. The volume of electronics produced continues to increase, while their usable lifetime continues to decrease. Electronics are made from valuable resources: metals, plastics, and glass that require energy to manufacture. Reusing and recycling these materials from end-of-life electronics conserves our natural resources, avoids air and water pollution, and the energy and resources required to make parts for new products. Because of the toxicity, electronics present a special recycling challenge.

Why is there a fee for recycling?

Recycling electronics is a labor-intensive job that involves a lot of time and expertise. Include the cost of shipping and it’s an expensive thing to do. Plus, with items such as monitors and TVs, there is actually a NEGATIVE recovery value! Be cautious with companies or individuals who accept electronics for free recycling or those who actually pay you to recycle your electronics. Many times, these operations send your old electronics overseas to countries without regulations that set environmental or labor standards and are likely to be dismantled by people in unsafe conditions.

CBS's 60 Minutes did a great piece on this problem, "Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste." The article also explains why it is important to pay to recycle electronic waste locally. Recycling locally is good for local businesses and the local economy by keeping materials and jobs within a community rather than sending them overseas.

To read about SAVE's efforts to make these programs more affordable and sustainable visit our legislative blog. Also, check out the links below to see Montana businesses that recycle locally.

Recycling E-Waste in Helena

SAVE hosted an annual e-waste drive in the fall but due to the success of the event through support from the community, the City of Helena will be taking over e-waste collection. This is an exciting development because it reflects the success of our programs and it will allow for electronic waste to be recyclced on a monthly basis instead of only once a year. SAVE would like the thank the community for the support it received and we hope that you continue to responsibly dispose of your e-waste though the city's program.

City of Helena

The City of Helena operates an e-waste collection at the Transfer Station, at 1975 Benton Avenue, on the third Wednesday of every month. Remaining dates; March 20th, April 17th, May 15th, June 19th, July 17th, August 21st, September 18th, October 16th, November 20th, and December 18th. Hours of operation are from 9am until 2pm. Processing fees and tipping fees apply, for a pricelist or additional details click here.

Yellowstone E-Waste Solutions

Yellowstone E-Waste Solutions is a full-service electronic recycler and partner with SAVE at past e-waste events. YES visits Helena on a regular basis for business and residential pickups, they charge a fee of 30¢ per pound for electronic equipment. Items accepted free-of-charge include cell phones, MP3 players, IPods, loose ink & toner cartridges, loose cords & cables, internal computer parts (motherboards, processors, memory, RAM, heat syncs, etc.), and any types of metals. Contact (406)861-4920 to schedule a pick-up or visit Yellostone E-Waste for additional details.

Staples has an electronics recycling program which accepts office technology products for recycling. There is a $10 fee to recycle larger items like computer monitors, desktop computers, laptops, printers, scanners, all-in-ones, and fax machines. Smaller items like keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge. They do not take TVs. Call your local store for more information.

Batteries Plus accepts light fixtures at $0.99/bulb. They are located at 3091 N Sanders St.

Cartridge World recycles empty ink cartridges and is located at 1302 Prospect Ave Suite D.

SAVE collects fluorescent light bulbs (tube and u-shaped) and batteries on our business recycling route. We also collect rechargeable batteries and cell phones at our recycling drives.

Home Depot and Lowe's collects light bulbs (fluorescent and CFL) and household batteries. The drop-off for these items can be found near the returns counter.

Check the Electronics Take Back Coalition's site for manufacturers that may take back these items or charge a fee to recycle them for you!