Considering the number of toxic substances and heavy metals in most cell phones, TVs, computers, etc., recycling electronics isn’t as easy as it should be. In fact, according to the United Nations, 44.7 million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2016, and only 20 percent of it was discarded properly.
This is quite unfortunate; because they’re made of valuable substances like plastic, steel, aluminum, copper, gold, and silver, more than 70 percent of a gadget can be recycled (according to Earth 911). Cell phones, computer monitors, computers, ink cartridges, tablets, printers – these are all recyclable.
While most of us recognize the value of recycling glass, paper, and plastic, e-waste is not our forte. So, what exactly should you do with an electronic, such as a computer or cell phone (or even a used ink cartridge), that has reached the end of its life cycle?
Simply throwing away electronics in the curbside bin is illegal in most states. In fact, in the United States, over 25 states have mandated electronic recycling. Laws regarding the disposal of e-waste vary from state to state, but in general, there are several things you can do with unwanted electronic waste:
2. Donate it to a local charity or non-profit (this is tax deductible so be sure you get a receipt!), such as a senior’s organization or recreation center, or you can seek after programs to help get your old devices to people who may need them such as:
◦Dell Reconnect – This partnership with Goodwill accepts all computer brands and almost anything that can be connected to a computer (such as a mouse or keyboard, scanner, printers, software, speakers, etc). Be sure to clear off any private information from your computer and simply take it and (along with any peripherals) to one of the participating Goodwill locations
◦AmericanCellPhoneDrive.Org – This organization accepts all cell phone brands and will either refurbish and resell your old device, or recycle them
◦The World Computer Exchange – If your computer is still functioning, you can find a chapter near you that you can contact in order to donate your old computer and devices. Your donation will go to nonprofits and communities around the world
◦National Cristina Foundation – The Foundation’s online non-profit locator enables you to select a local charity or school in your area to receive a donation of your old equipment
3. Bring it or mail it to a tech manufacturer or retailer. In many states, including New York, manufacturers of computers, televisions, etc. are actually required by law to accept their products for recycling. Many of them even have great recycling programs or take-back options, for example:
◦Apple’s GiveBack Program allows you to trade in your device for an Apple store Gift card, AND, if it’s not eligible for a credit, they’ll recycle it for you
◦Amazon’s Trade-In Program operates in a similar fashion and permits you to receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for eligible items
◦Office Depot and Staples both offer members of their affinity programs $2 in rewards for your recycled ink cartridge. Most printer manufacturers also have their own recycling programs so you can look into that option as well simply by visiting their site
4. Sell it – Between Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, you’ll easily find someone interested in purchasing your old laptop, printer, TV, etc.
It’s important to reduce the amount of energy we consume when using electronics, but it’s equally as important to properly dispose of them when they are no longer usable. If you have any electronic waste (or anything else for that matter) that you’re unsure how to dispose of, you can visit https://earth911.com/recycling-center-search-guides/.
Properly recycling, of not only electronics but of all materials, is very important in protecting the environment and helping create a more sustainable future for our planet. This is one of our primary goals at Spring Power & Gas and we pride ourselves in providing innovative energy and natural gas solutions that can help our customers reduce their environmental impact. Our electricity plan is matched 100% with renewable energy certificates, and our natural gas plan is matched 100% with carbon offsets.
Additionally, for every customer that enrolls with Spring Power & Gas, a contribution is made to the Ecogold Environmental Fund, which supports groups and organizations running environmental projects. If you haven’t made the switch yet, contact us to start rewarding yourself and the environment today.