Planning to trade up your electronics over the holidays? Do not throw your old computer, mobile, mp3 player or television into the trash can – they all contain materials that can be toxic. Instead, recycle that e-waste!
The Consumer Electronics Association reports that each American household owns about 24 electronic products.
Those electronics contain many harmful chemicals that can contaminate landfills. eRecycle.org reports that many of the materials in electronics devices can be recycled, saving resources. Those same products contain high levels of toxic materials, which can become hazardous waste when thrown away.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to cut down on the dumping of those chemicals with a campaign called Plug-In To eCycling.
The goal of the program is to make it easier to donate or safely recycle old electronics and work with communities, electronics manufacturers, and retailers to promote shared responsibility for safe electronics recycling.
If your old equipment is still in pretty good condition, then donate it! Hand it down to a friend or family member you think might like it. Or donate it to a local charity or school. Or put it up on your local Craigslist or Freecycle.
The EPA has a great list of charities, organizations, and retailers that will accept electronics donations.
There are a couple of charities not listed – Recycle for Breast Cancer accepts all sorts of electronic donations. You simply fill out the online form. They will ship you a stamped package for your old electronics.
Cell Phones for Soldiers will send your old mobile overseas so deployed soldiers can call home. You can also donate calling cards to this organization.
If your equipment is damaged or not working, you can find other ways to safely recycle it.
Many cell phone providers will accept your old phones, and even give you a trade-in for your upgrade
There are also several options for people with electronics that are damaged. Several big box electronics stores like Best Buy and Sam’s Club accept old rechargeable batteries, phones, mp3 players. Some will charge a fee for the proper disposal.
Not everyone will have to pay, though. The state of Washington recently passed a law that will take effect January of 2009 requiring electronics providers to pay for recycling.
If you’re looking to dispose of your equipment for free, you can also check out the Wanted section on craigslist. We broke our iPod a few months ago and found a guy through Craigslist that wanted broken iPods so he could refurbish them. I’ve also seen people looking for broken laptops and phones in our Craigslist wanted section.
How do you recycle your used electronics?