What do you do with the computer with the fried hard drive, last year’s cell phone and the on-the-fritz digital camera?

The environmentally conscious have been saving the electronic and technological trash for the once or twice a year “e-waste” collection event. But, the wait is over, said Cary Perrin, program coordinator of Keep Brownwood Beautiful.

The City of Brownwood’s Recycling Center, on FM 45, can now collect e-waste year round, Perrin said.

With the help of Keep Brownwood Beautiful, she said, the city has been able to acquire a water tight storage container for collections.

“So, no more storing your electronic waste and waiting for an e-waste collection event,” Perrin said.

“The e-waste collection events have been wildly successful, but it can be inconvenient for folks to store their electronics while they wait for the opportunity to recycle them. By having e-waste collection available year round, KBB hopes to increase the recycling effort of the citizens of Brownwood.”

The term “e-waste” refers to the wide range of electronic waste from traditional consumer electronics (such as TVs, VCRs and stereos) to computers and computer peripherals (including printers, keyboards, scanners, etc.) and newer technology products such as cellular phones, digital cameras and personal digital assistants.

Though the worn-out and no-longer-working items are of no use to their owners, electronics are made with valuable resources such as precious metals, engineered plastics and glass — all of which require energy to manufacture, Perrin said.

When equipment is thrown away and these resources cannot be recovered, additional pollution will be generated to manufacture new products out of virgin materials.

According to Perrin, electronics comprise 1 to 4 percent of the solid waste stream. Electronic equipment contains metals, such as cadmium, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium or chromium VI and other materials.

If those waste materials are not properly managed, and thrown out like trash, they can be hazardous to human health and to the environment, Perrin said. Plus, when those items are discarded they use costly landfill space.

“KBB was able to make this long term investment for the recycling center,” Perrin said, “because of the voluntary $1 donations that people give when paying their city water bills.”