Every year brings smaller, smarter phones and faster, more powerful computers. Our society revolves around upgrades, and electronic purchases are rarely meant to be long-term investments. But what happens to the older models? As you continue to upgrade or replace the computers, phones, and other devices at your home or business, you need a safe way to get rid of them.
Those broken or outdated electronics contain acids and heavy metals that are hazardous to the environment, so you can’t just toss them in the trash can or dumpster and send them to a landfill. Because these hazards can start fires and pollute the water and soil, even the smallest batteries are off-limits for the ecosystem. That’s why the solution is clear: recycle those electronics!
Here are three easy ways to clear the clutter and spare the environment from electronics waste.
Look Up a Local Spot to Recycle Electronics
Half of all states offer statewide electronic waste recycling programs. Even in states where electronics recycling is not required or funded by the government, you’ll find stores and businesses that take old electronics or offer recycling drives. The easiest way to check your local options: use Call2Recycle.org.
Just enter your zip code into the website’s interactive map, and choose the type of product you plan to recycle: rechargeable batteries, single-use batteries, or cell phones. Each category has different recycling requirements, but thousands of locations accept more than one type, and you can find individual restrictions on Call2Recycle listings too.
Donate Your Electronics
Do you upgrade your electronics before they actually stop working? If your devices still function or can be fixed, then they might make someone else’s life a lot easier. Instead of trying to sell an outdated device for a few extra dollars, donate your used electronics to a charity or non-profit that can repurpose it for someone else.
For example, local senior centers and recreation centers may happily take donated electronics and other usable goods for their facilities. Goodwill and other non-profits also collect electronics to re-sell in thrift stores. Even if your device still has some resale value, consider eBay for Charity, which makes it easy to donate some or all of your profits from successful sales.
Check With the Manufacturer (and Other Technology Companies)
Many states require electronics manufacturers to offer a way to recycle their products. Before you spend too much money or time recycling any old electronic, check with its manufacturer. For example, Sprint offers a buyback program for mobile phones, and Amazon and Apple offer gift cards for qualifying products.
Do you go through a lot of printer ink? HP, Epson, and Canon all have their own printer cartridge recycling programs, and Office Depot and Staples offer store credit for old cartridges. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a searchable list of some of the biggest companies with electronics recycling programs, including big-box stores and companies that make phones, computers, and TVs.
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