We have a love/hate relationship with Spring cleaning. It's definitely nice to purge your home of unnecessary clutter (trust us, you're never going to use that CRT monitor again). But the drawback of making executive decisions is that your eco-conscious takes a real beating...
When you dump your computer, printer, or even kitchen appliances they tend to go to the gizmo heaven in... China.
According to Treehugger:
Over the last decade, China has quickly become the de facto repository for developed countries' discarded electronics, known collectively as e-waste... A new study has just revealed that Guiyu, a major e-waste recycling center, has the highest documented levels of polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins (which are known to cause cancer) and polychlorodibenzofurans in the world...Noxious chemicals and metals, such as lead, are released when the used electronics are dunked into pits of acid and heated over coal-fueled grills. Researchers at the Hong Kong Baptist University previously demonstrated in March that the soil at these recycling centers possessed the highest concentrations of dioxin and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a commonly used flame retardant linked to abnormal thyroid metabolism and brain development. Another study showed that workers' blood levels at the sites contained levels of heavy PBDE-BDE–209 50 to 200 times higher than the norm.
Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but it's something to consider when you're doing your cleaning.
Luckily, DVICE rated some of the big box recycling programs to help your figure out where the best place is to recycle your old fridge or your old HD-not ready TV.
Some of the stores, like Circuit City and Best Buy, offer a trade-in incentive that gives you store credit for sending them your old gear. We were a little disappointed though that printers don't get trade-in value, especially since donation shops like the Salvation Army aren't allowed to take them in either. Staples will take them in though.