About to toss an old smartphone in the trash or leave your latest TV curbside? Stop right there -electronics don’t belong in landfills or on the curb! Improperly disposed of electronics are harmful to the environment, housing highly-toxic substances.
What’s the Big Deal?
U.S. produces more electronic or ‘e-waste’ than any other country in the world, sending around 50,000 dump trucks worth of e-waste to recyclers annually. The cheap price tags and rapid replacement needs of such products are creating a worldwide crisis as their careless disposal wreaks havoc on the environment and its inhabitants. Loaded down with heavy metals, elemental toxins that never disappear like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, and releasing halogenated dioxins and furans when burned, carelessly disposed of electronics are polluting the earth, water, and air with substances known to cause cancer, kidney and nervous system damage, endocrine disorders, reproductive issues, respiratory conditions, and more. This is why many states ban the disposal of electronic waste.
How Can I Responsibly Get Rid of Old Electronics?
Learn how to dispose of electronics with this foolproof e-waste disposal plan from Mr. Electric:
- Re-Sell & Re-Purpose First
Sixty-percent of discarded electronics end up in landfills annually. If your gadget still works or requires minor repairs, give it a chance for refurbishment and reuse before it dies an untimely death in a landfill. Currently, only 15-20 percent of e-waste is reused or recycled. If your electronics still work (and sometimes even if they don’t), consider resale and repurposing alternatives such as the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, senior organizations, Cell Phones for Soldiers or local domestic violence initiatives, or simply eBay for Charity, where you can easily sell your items and donate the proceeds to a charity. Resale/repurposing opportunities are only limited by your imagination.
Nearly 100 percent of e-waste is recyclable. In fact, many devices house precious metals. The recycling of a million cell phones would net 50-pounds of gold, 550-pounds of sliver, 20-ounds of palladium, and 20,000-pounds of copper according to EPA estimates. In silver and gold alone, Americans unknowingly discard an estimated $60-million annually. Learn how you can recycle in your state from the National Center for Electronics Recycling, or find donation/drop-off sites through the Environmental Protection Agency. Be sure to seek out EPA-certified recyclers to ensure proper disposal via separated waste streams, and keep items from being shipped to third-world nations for shady salvaging. Fifty-to-eighty-percent of U.S. e-waste is exported.
- Turn It in for Credit
Many wondering where to get rid of electronics overlook the potential to turn them in for credit when they are buying a new electronic item. From phones to tablets, computers, and TVs, most retailers that sell electronics offer credit for old items, and in the very least recycle them for free as part of your purchase. Have old stuff lying around but haven’t made a recent purchase? Call - many programs will accept your castoffs anyway. Programs from major cell phone and computer retailers, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, and more often offer some of the safest disposal options for electronics containing personal and finically-sensitive data.
When all else fails, it may simply be time to toss electronics. In this event, check with your local city government regarding designated cleanup drives, which typically include dedicated electronics disposal days, including those for larger items, such as TVs and appliances.
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Mountain of old electronics monopolizing your closet space? Mr. Electric can help, with safe, environmentally responsible electronic waste management solutions for your home or business. Contact us to learn more today.