An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Recycling Your Old Electronics

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This post is brought to you by the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.

“Did the holidays bring you new gadgets?  Here’s how to recycle your old ones.

Electronic gadgets were at the top of many holiday shopping lists again this year, with iPads and Kindles fueling a lot of the buying frenzy. The biggest sellers were e-readers, tablet computers, smart phones, HD TVs and video games consoles and accessories.

So what should you do with your old stuff – the items these shiny new gadgets replaced? Or the even older ones – the dead cell phones, PDAs, and iPods stashed in your dead gadget drawer, or the old printer or TV tucked away in the basement?  It’s pretty easy to keep a recycling resolution, with the help of the our Guide To Recycling Your Electronics. Here are the basics, with a lot more information available in the Guide.

Don’t Trash Old Electronics
The easiest (but worst) thing to do is to toss the old items in the trash. These gadgets contain toxic chemicals, which we don’t want seeping out of landfills and into groundwater, or creating toxic air emissions from incinerators. Plus they take up a lot of room in overcrowded landfills. And most contain metals that can be recovered and reused.

Donate for reuse

If your old item still works and is pretty current, it can probably be reused. Many cities have local, non-profit reuse organizations, which will refurbish electronics for use in local underserved communities. You can usually find these by contacting your local county solid waste agency.  If you don’t find one, consider the National Cristina Foundation, which matches donated computers to charities and agencies, or the World Computer Exchange, which sends requested working items to educational institutions in developing countries.

If reuse is not an option, then please take it to an electronics recycler. Make sure your old product gets to a responsible recycler – one who will actually recycle it, and not ship it off to a developing nation, where old electronics are causing terrible health and environmental harm. The best way to do that is to work with a recycler who is part of the e-Stewards network. E-Stewards recyclers adhere to the highest standards in the industry, including a firm commitment not to export non-working or untested e-waste to developing nations. Many e-Stewards also refurbish products for reuse.

If there is no e-Steward near you, then there are many takeback programs run by the manufacturers and retailers (especially Best Buy), most of which are free. See our website’s Guide to Recycling Your Electronics for information and links to all of these manufacturer takeback programs. Some of these programs have trade-in options, which will give you money back for certain items, especially cell phones and laptops. The Guide includes details on these trade-in options as well.

Happy New Year and thanks for taking the time to recycle!”

Tag(s): Gift Ideas, Going Green, Hazardous Products / Health Issues, Recycling


One Response to “An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Recycling Your Old Electronics”

  1. RecycleYourCity on December 29th, 2011 6:38 pm

    Great idea for a New Year’s Resolution! Donating electronics is great for karma and for tax purposes! If you’re looking to recycle your old electronics check out for a recycling location in your area.

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