An Owner’s Guide to E-Cycling

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Technology is moving forward at a rapid pace. In fact, some have suggested it’s moving so fast that we as a people can’t actually keep up with it. While innovative ideas, inventions, and tools keep driving forward, obsoletion becomes more of an issue.

For example, think of the thing you use most in your life: your phone. You carry it around with you every day, check it several times a day, and probably couldn’t live without it. But, new iPhone models come out yearly, and many consumers are quick to make the change to newer models. Other smartphones, tablets, computers, and even appliances with new tech are also frequently updated, creating the issue of what to do with the older models.

So, what should you do with your old tech gear or mobile devices? If you truly want to get rid of an electronic device, one of the best options is e-cycling. It’s better for the environment, and will give you the opportunity to safely get rid of your electronics so you can make room for new items.

The Problem With Electronic Waste

If you want the latest Android phone and it requires you getting rid of your current one, don’t just throw it in the trash. Electronic waste is a huge problem in this country. As it continues to pile up, it could affect everything from the climate to the water we drink. Some e-waste is even illegally getting sent to other countries.

Many electronic devices contain toxic heavy metals, including:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Beryllium

Combined with other chemicals also found in the devices, e-waste can be incredibly harmful to human health as well as the planet. Unfortunately, about 75% of electronics currently end up in landfills.

With that in mind, let’s learn a bit more about e-cycling to keep the landfills cleaner and free of electronic waste.

How to Recycle Electronics

States have different laws on e-cycling. So, the best place to start if you have an electronic device you want to get rid of is to look at your state’s rules on doing so.

If you have larger electronic items like appliances, contact your local disposal/waste company. Many of them offer haul-away services, and they can take it to the right recycling facility for you. Just make sure it won’t be taken to the landfill when you’re working with a waste company.

You can also give your electronic device a second life by donating it to a local thrift store, homeless shelter, or a nonprofit organization who specializes in giving those in need the items they could use. If your item is still in good shape and works properly, you don’t need to throw it away or recycle it. Instead, let someone else use it and love it the way you once did. Some of the best programs that can help others when you donate your items include:

  • Dell Reconnect
  • American Cell Phone Drive
  • World Computer Exchange
  • eBay for Charity

If you have smaller items to dispose of, like a cell phone, you’re not alone. About 350,000 mobile phones are disposed of every day. So, you can imagine what that is doing to our environment and landfills. Similar to large appliance recycling programs, there are local cell phone recycling centers all over the country, including recycling kiosks. Look for the ones closest to you, and you can drop off all of your old cell phones quickly, knowing you won’t be contributing to environmental waste.

What Can/Should You E-Cycle?

While we’ve already touched on cell phones and major appliances, it’s okay to be a bit confused on which tech items can be recycled and which can’t. Unfortunately, there are some items that should be turned in as electronic waste, including:

  • Anything with a computer chip
  • LCD screens
  • Copper wire
  • Green plastic circuit boards

Take a look at your devices before you decide what to do with them. If they have any of those items, you might still be able to donate them or work with a nonprofit to dispose of them safely. But, they typically aren’t able to be recycled unless those components are removed. Some of the most common electronic devices you can recycle, however, include:

  • Non-cellular telephones
  • Home audio systems
  • Desktop computers
  • Photocopiers
  • Printers
  • Vehicle audio systems

It’s highly unlikely that people are going to stop buying the latest and greatest tech gadgets. And, there is nothing wrong with that as long as the outdated items are disposed of properly.

Only about 12.5% of e-waste is recycled. It’s not fair or safe to assume that if you throw an electronic device away that someone will collect it and recycle it. Instead, take the initiative yourself when it comes to the tech items in your life. Look into local options, work with nonprofit organizations, and do your research when it comes to the best methods for e-cycling. In doing so, you’ll be helping the environment, and the general health and wellness of the population.