Earth Day is coming up Saturday, April 22nd and while much of the focus of volunteers will be clearing parks and streets of trash, another important part of saving the environment, is what
people do with old electronics.
When was the last time you had a TV repaired? We don’t do it anymore because it’s cheaper
just to buy a new one when the old one stops working.. It’s easy to toss the old one in the trash,
but that’s a terrible idea.
Computers, phones, and TVs contain lead, mercury, and chromium. Toxic materials cause all types of health problems. Yet tons and tons of the devices and materials wind up in landfills
every year, polluting the earth and the air.
So what can you do instead?
E-waste recycling centers are opening across the country. Many are non-profits that recycle
electronics for free. Many of these organizations will accept most computers and will remove
parts that can be used again.
The EPA has more information on where to take electronics https://www.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling
Best Buy and Staples have recycling bins at many of their stores. They’ll accept computers, routers, printers, old hard drives, and small appliances. You can just drop them off at the door or
Best Buy just launched another recycling program where it’ll send you a box and shipping label.
Fill the box with as many small electronics as you can and ship it back for recycling. Small boxes are $23 while larger boxes to hold more devices are $30.
Tech for Troops is a non-profit organization that collects laptop and desktop computers,
unlocked phones, and tablets to give to veterans who need those devices. Visit their website
www.techfortroops.org. Fill a box you already have with working devices, print out a shipping
label and mail it in. Just make sure you include the charging cables. This is a great organization
that helps veterans and their families.
For phones, most carriers will recycle them for no cost. There are also kiosks popping up in
Walmart stores. Just bring your phone in, and answer a few questions about the phone’s make,
model, carrier, and whether it still works or is cracked. You may not get as much as you want but
it’s an easy way to recycle.
If a phone or tablet still works, give it a second life by using it as an e-reader, security camera,
or TV remote control.
You might also find some electronics recycling events where you live that’ll take items for free.
The idea is to keep items like these as far from a landfill as possible.