Electronics have become a part of everyday life and the average family will dispose of one or more cell phones or computers each year. Just as it is important to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass items, it is even more important to recycle electronic equipment. Cell phones and computers may contain harmful plastics, mercury or other toxins which may cause adverse reactions if placed in landfills.
If you are ready for your used or broken technology to move on to a new life, consider the following ways to dispose of it.
Sell your items
If your used cell phone or computer is in working order and good condition, you may be able to sell it for a little extra cash. Websites like www.usell.com will accept your item for an agreed-upon price. eBay’s electronics recycling program, Instant Sale ( www.instantsale.ebay.com ), will allow you to accept a cash offer for your item and even pay the shipping. If you’re considering buying a new item, Hewlett-Packard will offer a trade-in value for your used item via the HP Trade-In Program.
Repurpose your items
Just because an item no longer works for its intended use doesn't mean it can't be repurposed for something else. An old computer monitor can be made into a cat’s bed, a broken keyboard can be repurposed into a seed starter and old CDs can be transformed into art. Visit www.oureverydayearth.com for unique and fun ways to reuse old computer parts and accessories.
Donate to a good cause
If an electronics item is still usable and in good condition, consider donating it to a worthy cause. Non-profit organizations that are short on funds may welcome a three-year-old computer and a homeless shelter may be in need of extra cell phones. Some charitable organizations collect donated cell phones as a fundraising activity. Check the needs of organizations within your local community and ask if your item is needed.
Recycle in a safe way
If your electronics have truly reached the end of their life span, it’s important to recycle them in a safe way. Computers and cell phones often contain parts that are not fit for landfills. There may be mercury or other harmful substances within the devices, and it's important they are disassembled in a safe way.
Goodwill Industries has a partnership with Dell allowing consumers to donate used computer equipment at local Goodwill stores. Consumers receive a receipt for tax purposes and Dell employees safely deconstruct the equipment, preventing harmful materials from going into landfills.
Visit the websites www.earth911.com and www.call2recycle.org to find other organizations that will accept used electronics for recycling.
Taking the time to recycle your electronic equipment properly will ensure a cleaner environment and safer future for all.