Recycling Your Electronics
As much as we all might love our current computers, printers and cell phones, they don’t last forever. Some will break, others will get dumped for a newer model or a replacement product. The question is, what will happen to your old electronics? Eventually they have to go somewhere, and anyone who’s at least a little bit environmentally conscientious knows that the landfill probably isn’t the smartest place to send your old tech. Instead of tossing your outdated electronics out, why not recycle them?
Chances are the place you bought them from offers some sort of recycling program that you can take advantage of by contacting them or simply going in. Stores like Office Depot, Staples and Best Buy offer recycling programs that allow customers to recycle all kinds of electronic devices. Smaller items such as cell phones, ink cartridges, mice and keyboards can usually be recycled for free, while larger items such as TVs, computers and printers will sometimes carry small fees to cover transportation costs to the recycling location. Spending a few bucks to recycle these items is a small price to pay compared to major environmental toll of sending it to a landfill.
You might also try contacting the manufacturer of a product to find out if they have any sort of program in place to reclaim and recycle their old products. Companies such as Dell, Hewelett Packard, IBM and Apple all offer some way of recycling products which carry their name, either by shipping it to them or dropping it off at a specific store. These companies will also recycle your old computer (no matter what the brand) free of charge when you buy one of their products. Make sure you ask about recycling options for your old electronics when buying new ones, you’ll have a better chance of being able to take care of it for free.
One other option you might consider if you have outdated technology that is still in working condition is donating it. There are a plethora of organizations that put old tech to good use. Donating your old electronics is oftentimes a better decision than recycling simply because it gives someone else a chance to get use out of something that could have gone to waste. One great example of an electronics donation program is Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill which accepts old computers in any condition. By donating an electronic, you’re prolonging its useful life and making sure it doesn’t simply end up in a landfill.
So next time you’re thinking about tossing that box of old gear, take a second to reconsider your options. With just a little bit of extra effort you can do the environment, and yourself, a BIG favor.