1. What is e-waste and why should I care about it?
The term “e-waste” refers to electronic waste from products such as computers, televisions, refrigerators, and cell phones. The majority of e-waste is made up of small components like circuit boards, microchips, hard drives, and wires that were once part of a larger machine. Many local communities in the U.S. lack the facilities or resources to properly dispose of this waste, which means these items often end up improperly recycled or thrown into landfills, where many toxic chemicals can leak out over time.
While it might seem as if individual actions are not making a difference when you’re throwing one item away at a time, the cumulative effects can be significant on both local and global levels. E-waste contains a multitude of chemicals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. When improperly disposed of in landfills or burned, these dangerous chemicals can leach into the soil and air. The transportation of e-waste to developing countries also contributes heavily to global climate change because of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by shipping container ships.
2. How to dispose of your old electronic devices
There are many different ways to safely dispose of your old electronic devices. Some can be taken back to the manufacturer and recycled for free, while others can be dropped off at e-waste collection centers in your community. In addition, you might want to consider selling or donating any items that still have value since this will both help you get some extra money (or gift cards) and prevent more waste from being added to landfills.
3. Where to recycle electronics in your area
There are many different organizations and companies that will take back your used electronics. The following websites list drop-off locations throughout the U.S., so check them out to see if there’s a convenient place you can drive to or take public transportation to:
- Earth911 (addresses and phone numbers for locations throughout the U.S.)
- Call2Recycle (a company that works with manufacturers to run collection programs; has a searchable database)
4. Donating your electronics for reuse
If you’re in need of some extra cash, selling or donating your old devices is another option worth considering. There are several ways you can go about this depending on what products you have available and how much time/effort you want to put into it:
* Sell online: eBay and Craigslist are great sites that have a lot of traffic on them, so you can reach a large number of potential buyers. You will also want to be careful about posting photos and descriptions of personal information like your name or phone number, as well as the device’s serial/product codes.
* Hold an in-person sale: If you don’t want to go through the hassle of shipping an item around the country, try setting up a mini yard sale or putting advertisements on local community bulletin boards at grocery stores or laundromats. Someone from your area might come across it while going about their daily routine!
5. Tips on how you can avoid creating more waste
Since the best way to deal with waste is to prevent it, be sure to follow these tips for green electronics use:
* Use your old devices until they no longer work – Trade in products that are still functioning in good condition, such as used cell phones and computers, when you upgrade. If you can’t find someone who wants them for free, try selling or donating them instead. You’ll also want to remove any personal information from the device before passing it along; this includes passwords/usernames for accounts like Facebook and email.
6. Additional resources for recycling electronics
There are many great websites out there that can provide you with more detailed information on recycling, how to create less waste, and other environmental tips. In addition to the above sites, check out these pages for more ways to be a responsible gadget owner:
* GoodGuide – This is a site where you can check different products (like electronics) and find out about their impact on the environment. You can see how they rank in terms of chemicals used and toxicity, along with other factors (like energy use). Since it’s so comprehensive, it’s best to read through an overview of what each factor means before using it as part of your buying decision.
By following the above tips, you will learn how you can safely recycle your old electronics, as well as how you can avoid creating more waste in the future. If you are interested in selling your products, remember that it’s best to get rid of personal information and keep models/serial numbers out of photos before putting them up for sale.