Throwing electronics in the trash could result in fines

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Throwing electronics in the trash is not only the wrong way to dispose of them, but you can actually be fined for doing so -- in fact, many electronics are banned from landfills altogether.

"Nobody can put them in the trash, set them out with their garbage carts or their recycling carts. City crews won't collect them. In fact, you can be fined if you set it out." said Becky Curtis with the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works. "Many of them contain harmful materials that can pose a serious threat to human and environmental health."

Milwaukee is encouraging residents to turn their unwanted electronics in to the City's Self Help Center -- a free electronics recycling program. Stores like Best Buy also offer a recycling program.

"They disperse it, break it down, figure out what goes with what and reuse, recycle it," said Stephanie Mraz with Best Buy. "We take a lot of small electronics from cables to large screen TVs, as well as appliances, cameras, cell phones."

Old parts can also be repurposed and used on some of today's hottest electronics items.

"They can upgrade their technology while still getting rid of that stuff in a responsible way," said Mraz.

Experts say the same thing goes for wrapping paper -- it can also be recycled as long as it doesn't contain any foil or non-paper items. However, the City recommends saving ribbons and bows to reuse next season.