Electronics: Creative Recycling

What happens to our cell phones and other electronics when we’re done with them? Unlike most solid waste, electronics go through a special recycling and disposal process to prevent toxins and components from ending up in our environment, where they can cause harm.

This girls-only course will look at what happens — and what should happen — to electronics at the end of their lives. We’ll take a hands-on look at some of the stages in the making, breaking apart and disposing of electronics, from soldering circuit boards to extracting precious metals to making our own landfill, so we can understand what leaching is and how it works. We’ll also go through the recycling process to see how these marvels of manufacturing can be broken down into their component materials, and look at creative ways to repurpose electronic waste and reduce what ends up in the waste stream. Anticipate a possible off-campus field trip to a nearby recycling center.

Who It’s For

This course is for girls entering sixth to eighth grades. There are no prerequisites — students are not required to take Electronics: Design & Fabrication first. 


Denise Wilson is a professor of electrical engineering at the UW, where she’s been teaching electronics, electronics technology and electronic waste courses for more than 15 years. She has also taught middle and high school students through science fairs, engineering open houses and other outreach programs. Denise has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, and a M.Ed. from the University of Washington.

Barbara Purn has a master’s degree in education and was a teacher at Villa Academy until she retired. She's passionate about science and the world, and has traveled to Kenya, India, Nepal, Cuba, Ireland, Spain, Iceland and Hawaii. Barbara has taught with UW Summer Youth Programs for many years.

More Information

See the Things to Know section for details about registration policies, transportation and parking, and more.

Dates & Times

Jul 30–Aug 3, 2018

UW Seattle
9 a.m.–4 p.m.