If you added a new television, stereo or computer to your house during the holidays, chances are it was to upgrade or replace something you already had.
So that older electronic device either is being used elsewhere in the house or needs to go.
If the device is still in working condition, there are plenty of local groups that will gladly take your donation, including Goodwill Industries.
But Goodwill and other nonprofit organizations that run retail stores don't want items that aren't working anymore. The organizations aren't able to repair them, and there is a cost to dispose of broken appliances.
That would defeat the purpose of getting donations to raise funds.
Goodwill also doesn't have room to sell any large appliances, such as washing machines, even if they are working, said Phil Stauffer, vice president of retail operations for Goodwill Industries of Akron.
And it's not safe to put old computers, televisions and other electronics in the trash. They contain hazardous materials such as lead, arsenic and cadmium, said Yolanda Walker, executive director of the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority.
''Electronics probably make up 2 percent of what's put into landfills. But hazardous components can [be] up to 70 percent of the hazardous leachate that can contaminate waterways and soil. It's a small amount of electronics, but the leaching into our soil and water system is pretty tremendous,'' Walker said.
It's not an easy task to recycle an old television, in particular. The Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, which collects hazardous materials for Summit County residents when its facility is open from spring to fall, stopped accepting televisions and consumer electronics in 2009 when the costs got too high — even when they were charging consumers to drop them off.
Walker said it cost about $32,000 to dispose of old TVs.
Walker said the agency feels its role is to help Summit County residents if there are no options or solutions for recycling.
So the agency, for instance, when it reopens May 3 at 1201 Graham Road in Stow, will take items such as pool chemicals, lawn chemicals, automotive fluids, insecticides, pesticides, paints and fluorescent bulbs and batteries for free and $1 each for tires off their rims for Summit County residents. (Go online to http://www.saswma.org for full listings of what the center accepts when it is open.)
But when there are options in the private sector for recycling, such as TVs and electronics, the agency will let the businesses handle the collection.
Walker acknowledged it's a burden on consumers in some cases to have to pay someone else to dispose of something that is broken.
Walker said that becomes a philosophical discussion of product stewardship on the part of manufacturers and that consumers should hold manufacturers responsible for the end of life and disposal of their products.
To recycle consumer electronics, such as stereos, VCRs and computers, there are several businesses that will take them for free. They break down the parts to recycle or dispose of them properly.
For broken televisions, it's a bit trickier, and the choices in the Akron area aren't as large.
• Best Buy stores will accept nearly everything electronic, including Cathode Ray Tube TVs, or CRT TVs. Those are what most of us know as the old-style television that is not a flat screen. Best Buy will take televisions and monitors up to 32 inches and flat-panel TVs and monitors up to 60 inches for a $10 fee. The store will immediately give you a $10 Best Buy gift card, so it's cost-neutral to you. The stores will accept up to three items per household per day and do not charge for the following brands: Insignia, Dynex, VPR Matrix.
• A Hudson company called e-Waste LLC at 1261 Hudson Gate Drive (330-650-0274 or http://www.e-wasteonline.com) will take TVs for a charge: $25 for TVs 32 inches or under, $40 for TVs 33 inches to 42 inches and $80 for TVs over 42 inches.
Most of the business recyclers that take general consumer electronics, not including TVs, don't charge for the drop-off. If you are recycling a used computer, all of the companies said they either wipe the hard drive clean of any previous data or destroy the hard drive before recycling.
Here are a few recyclers in the Akron area:
• Itran Inc., 4100 Congress Parkway West, Richfield, (330-659-0801 or http://www.itranusa.com). Itran has a yellow drop-off bin at its location and will take small consumer electronics for free. Larger quantities have a fee. The company will take flat-screen TVs, but no older-style TVs.
• L&M Technical Recycling will take consumer electronics (no TVs) for free. Computer monitors that are CRT or not flat-panel have a cost of $5. Call 330-319-4438 for drop-off details or the company will do pick-ups in the Akron area for a fee.
• e-waste LLC, 1261 Hudson Gate Dr. (330-650-0274 or http://www.e-wasteonline.com) charges $10 for recycling computers and monitors and $15 for printers. The company will take TVs for a fee.
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or email@example.com.