Stereo Mini cord is toxic?
November 17, 2008 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Why does this stereo mini to RCA adapter have a obscure image icon that indicates hazardous waste?

I have a stereo mini to RCA adapter cord that gave out and before tossing it in the trash I noticed this teeny-weeny sticker on one end. All that is on the sticker is an image of a trash receptacle with a circle and a line through it. Very small, very hard to see.

I scanned it and you can see the image here.

What is in this cord that I should be so worried about and how shall I dispose of it safely?

posted by silsurf to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
Likely due to the presence of solder between the wire and connector.
posted by rhizome at 10:23 AM on November 17, 2008

Agree with Rhizome. Solder = lead. Just don't chew on them, no matter how sweet and delicious.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:29 AM on November 17, 2008

And dispose of it when your community has a hazardous materials mitigation event, when you can also get rid of batteries (both car and gizmo), paint, motor oil, comuter equipment, etc.
posted by DandyRandy at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2008

posted by DandyRandy at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2008

It almost certainly means it was assembled with lead solder. This means it should be disposed of with other "e-waste" and not thrown out in the normal garbage.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. it's difficult to dispose of e-waste responsibly and inexpensively. Many putative "recyclers" actually just send the stuff to Africa or Asia, where kids sit around and burn the plastic away in order to get at the scrap metal, releasing tons of toxins in the process.

You should probably put the cord with any other junk equipment you have, and then when you have a pile that's worth dealing with, take it to a e-Stewards certified recycler for disposal.

I would strongly caution you against taking e-waste to a non-certified recycler; although you may think you're doing good, you could be releasing far more toxins into the environment, and doing far more damage to far more people, than if you just wrapped it in plastic bags, put it in a cardboard box, and sent it to the landfill. (Which is not an option that I endorse or recommend either, but it's probably better than sending it halfway around the world to be incinerated in open fires.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:09 PM on November 17, 2008

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