Recycle electronics? Yes! Why? “E-waste” is the trash created when people throw away old phones, fax machines, hard drives, monitors, lap top computers, and other electronic equipment. E-waste is also the fastest growing sector of the waste stream, and that’s not good news for the environment. Cell phones, computers, printers, monitors and more are loaded with toxic metals and chemicals that pollute groundwater and contaminate the air. They can also poison workers who dismantle the machines if they’re not properly trained. You can make a difference by recycling your electronics rather than simply throwing them away in trash cans or skips and bins. Here’s how:
* Take them back – Most stores that sell electronics – including Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, and phone vendors – have in-store recycling operations where you can drop off everything from phones to computers. Look for big bins near the entrance where you can toss smaller items like phones, remote controls, chargers, and cords. Take larger items like computers and monitors to the service desk.
* Donate them – If your equipment still works or needs simple repairs, many charities will be happy to take it off your hands. Start with your local Goodwill office, or look online for companies and organizations that accept donated phones, refurbish them, and get them to people in need.
* Trade them in – Depending on how old your equipment is, you may be able to trade it in for store credit that can be applied to the purchase of newer equipment.
* Sell them on Craig’s List or Ebay – If your equipment is working fine but you need a more updated version, sell your stuff on Craig’s List, Ebay, or your neighborhood list-serv.
* Dispose in a community electronics recycling drive – Increasingly, many communities host drives at a school, community center or shopping mall to make it easy to recycle electronics. Collect old phones, chargers and other equipment from everyone in the family, then drop everything off at once.
Don’t Forget to Swipe Your Electronics Clean Before You Recycle Them
These links will help you find tools to swipe your phone, computer, and other electronics clean of all your data before you recycle them.