Chicago – As Illinois residents may contemplate recycling electronic items when spring cleaning their homes, Attorney General Raoul is encouraging them to take advantage of environmentally-friendly recycling programs and to be mindful of potential personally identifying information left on their smart devices.
“The proliferation of smart devices has transformed our lives in countless ways, including that people upgrade their devices more frequently,” Raoul said. “We must be mindful, however, of the real environmental effects of e-waste and how to safely dispose of older electronic equipment while protecting sensitive personal information.”
Raoul reminds Illinoisans that it is illegal to throw many electronic devices in the trash and that older electronics – including televisions, computers, tablets, gaming systems and telephones – may contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health if not properly disposed of and specially processed.
If a device cannot be donated, Raoul recommends individuals utilize the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s list of electronics recyclers to find local drop-off sites or to schedule a pickup. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also offers information on certified electronics recyclers, such as e-Stewards and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International, which have demonstrated they meet specific standards for safe recycling and management. In addition, consumers upgrading their smart phones can often sell or trade in their current device to the manufacturer or an electronics retailer.
If donating or recycling an electronics item, Raoul urges consumers to be mindful of newer smart devices that often save personal data that could be used by identity thieves. Raoul recommends people take the following steps before donating an electronics item:
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or other fraud, Raoul encourages you to file a complaint on the Attorney General's website, call the toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 866-999-5630, or call one of the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotlines:
1-866-310-8398 (Spanish-language hotline)