E-waste and Recycling: What to Do With Old Electronics?

Sections: Audio, Smart Home, Speakers, Video

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Image from Best Buy E-waste Program

Image from Best Buy E-waste Program

Technology moves fast, and, if you’re like me, you probably have a daunting collection of old phones, computers with cracked screens, outdated TVs, and dusty receivers in the garage threatening to take out a toe or lunging at you every time you open a drawer. Now that you got some new tech toys for the holidays, you probably want to get rid of some of the old stuff. Aside from sheer storage conundrums, e-waste is a serious environmental issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated more than 2.44 million tons and 3.4 million tons of e-waste in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In 2010, only 19.6 percent of that year’s total e-waste was recycled, and in 2011, 24.6 percent of that year’s total e-waste was recycled. Aside from selling your old stuff on eBay or Craigs List, here are some easy ways to get rid of your e-waste.


Find an E-waste Drive or Center

There are plenty of ongoing e-waste drives put on by everyone from your local YMCA, Goodwill, or  Best Buy. Some are special events, some are permanent e-waste drive centers. A good place to start is with your city’s department of public works, which should have a list of scheduled e-waste drives in your area. Also check the Environmental Protection Agency‘s website–you can even search by brand.

When looking for a drive or e-waste center, make sure that there is some certification of how products are recycled. For example, just because you delete all your personal info from the hard drive of your laptop doesn’t mean that it isn’t accessible. Information is only truly deleted when it is overwritten by other files being stored.

Get Money for Your Old Devices

Recently, I took my cracked iPhone to the Apple Store to try to get the LCD screen fixed. They told me it would cost almost as much as a new one. So while my old iPhone is useless to me, there are people out there who value its parts or who want to refurbish and resell it. For example, at Gazelle, you can get $150 for an iPhone 5S, 16GB that doesn’t turn on, is cracked, and missing buttons. Even if you simply want to upgrade to the newest model, you can sell your old phone (or tablet) here and get even more for it if it’s in good condition.

Any way you look at it, recycling your old electronic junk is a good thing. It gets it out of your closet or garage, does something positive for the environment, might put a few dollars in your pocket, and, if you do it via a respectable outlet who guarantees a data wipe, you can rest easy knowing your personal information is not going to be compromised.








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