From TVs that become obsolete as soon as a larger, thinner model comes out, to phones that seem designed to kick the bucket as soon as the contract expires, today’s technology is made to be replaced. It seems that if there’s anything we like more than getting a new device, it’s throwing it out and getting an even newer one. Have you ever thought to recycle your old electronics?
There’s nothing wrong with staying up to date on the latest gadgets, but it often comes at a cost. All that obsolete and unwanted technology—often referred to as e-waste—really adds up. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of e-waste, and it has been estimated that Americans throw out more than 9 million tons of old electronics every year. Most of it could be recycled, but very little of it actually is. So if you’re looking for a way to recycle your old electronics, here’s how.
Take It to a Recycler
Unfortunately, recycling electronics isn’t as simple as recycling your junk mail or empty bottles, and simply tossing your old phone or laptop in a recycling bin doesn’t guarantee that it will be recycled. Luckily, most communities offer their own e-waste recycling centers, and some cities and towns also sponsor collection days for electronics. Numerous nonprofit organizations also offer options, like Call2Recycle, which provides drop-off locations for cell phones and rechargeable batteries all over the U.S.
If your old TV, laptop, cell phone, or any other piece of technology is still functional, the best thing you can do is donate it. Plenty of charities and nonprofit organizations are available to help you out. Look into the World Computer Exchange, which supplies computers to communities in need all over the world, or visit AmericanCallPhoneDrive.org to donate your cell phone to support a good cause. Dell also has a partnership with Goodwill that allows you to drop off your computer (or, as their website puts it, “just about anything that can be connected to a computer”) at any participating Goodwill Location.
Lots of electronics manufacturers and retailers offer excellent recycling programs. You can return a wide range of electronics to Best Buy for recycling, regardless of where you bought them, and brands like LG, Samsung, Sony and Sprint offer in-store, mail-in or drop-off recycling options for their products. Visit the EPA website for a more comprehensive list of manufacturers and retailers that offer electronics recycling options.
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