Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Recycle E-Waste - Tips for Safely Disposing of Electronics

E-waste is the latest term for all your leftover electronics.  With technology progressing so fast, many people have tons of old TVs, computers, cell phones, and other old stuff just lying around the house which are no longer being used.

English: Pile of e-Waste / Electronic waste: A...
Pile of e-Waste / Electronic waste. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although it may seem like the easiest solution, it’s important not to just throw your electronics away.  They contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals that can fill landfills and pollute the environment around them.  These materials can pollute the air, water, soil, and potentially harm other living creatures including you and your family.  In fact, in many places, it is illegal to throw these items away.  There are quick and easy ways to reuse and recycle your electronics that are safer for the world around you.

It generally isn’t too difficult to find a local place to recycle your junk.  Some places, particularly in areas where recycling is mandatory, have drop off sites, but if not there are generally businesses that will have recycling events or will take the waste all the time.  They are willing to recycle for you because it gets you in the door of the store.  If no one is advertising recycling in your area, ask at local electronic stores.  If they don’t recycle, ask if they know who does.

There are also quite a few places that offer to recycle your ewaste, but be wary of what is happening to it once it gets into their hands.  Many companies have large collections only to simply send the products overseas to be thrown in landfills there.  This not only harms the environment, it can also harm the people in that area that don’t have the same standard of living as we do.  Be sure to look into the place that is claiming to recycle your old stuff.

English: SAN DIEGO (May 13, 2010) Workers gath...
Workers gather computers, printers, and other electronics during Ewaste at Naval Air Station North Island. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you don’t want to just recycle your ewaste, why not do something good with it by donating it to a charity?  There are many charities now that will take your old cell phones and recycle them, then use the money to support a cause - often something environmental.  You can research these organizations online, or even look around in your local community.  A local zoo or nature center is a good place to start asking.

While many people rush to recycle their old ewaste, if it still works, or even if it doesn’t, you may consider selling it or donating it to a local charity.  Just because an electronic device isn’t the newest, latest thing doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t want it.  TVs can be used by families in need to stay up on the news, and old computers, even if they’re not working, can be taken apart and used for parts. 

If you don’t believe people will want your “ancient” electronics, do some quick searching on YouTube.  People are using electronics for tons of crazy things nowadays, from art to planters and more.  If you want an idea on whether you can sell it or should just give it away, do a quick search on eBay and see what similar items are going for.

By taking a bit of extra time to recycle your old electronics, you’ll be doing the environment a world of good, and might make a little money for yourself in the process.

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