By James Daniels
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Americans own approximately 24 electronic products per household. Everything from smartphones to kitchen gadgets may help streamline our day-to-day lives but can negatively impact our environment. The NCSL warns about the sheer volume of resources it takes to create electronic devices, including the use of metals including silver, gold palladium and copper. NCSL notes that recovering these materials through recycling ultimately costs a small fraction of the energy needed to actually mine the materials. In addition to a rising concern over materials used, dumping electronics can also create harmful and toxic waste.
It’s not enough to just throw your electronics into a recycling bin and hope for the best. Always use a certified electronic recycle service, or look for a manufacturer e-recycling program to safely recycle your old tech. You can also consider donating or re-selling both working and broken gadgets to keep electronics out of the landfill. Here’s a quick guide to choosing, using and recycling your gadgets.
Purchase a Recycled Gadget
Start your gadget recycling journey by purchasing a refurbished or recycled gadget. You can help keep electronics out of landfills while saving at the same time. Manufacturers like Apple offer discounts on refurbished products including Macbooks that are carefully tested and restored for purchase. In addition, many refurbished products come with a warranty to protect your investment.
However, it’s important to reset recycled devices before you use them after purchase, or pass them onto someone else. Otherwise, a complete stranger could access your personal files and data from your old device. Use T-Mobile’s quick and simple guide to reset your iPhone. Follow the prompts, go to “Settings,” tap on “General” and select “Reset.” From there, you can opt to erase all content and settings to remove all of your personal information from contacts to photos.
Donate Your Old Tech
Working and broken gadgets alike can be donated and repaired to pass onto someone else. Dell Reconnect partners with Goodwill to accept computers and gadgets to restore, recycle and pass on to those in need. Meanwhile, Computers with Causes takes old computers, laptops, smartphones and gadgets for a tax deductible donation. The devices are then donated to various charitable programs for vocational and educational resources. One of their programs helps veterans looking to learn new skills.
Take Your Devices to a Retailer
Some electronic retailers offer their own in-store recycling programs with incentives including discounts for new products. Best Buy’s recycling program accepts TV, computers, tablets, smartphones and even appliances. If it’s electronic, chances are high you can find a recycling program for it. To date, Best Buy has collected and recycled over one billion pounds of electronics and appliances. They’re currently working with certified recyclers to collect over two billion pounds of e-waste by 2020.
Sell Your Old Smartphones and Computers
Selling your old electronics is another way to pass on your gadgets without tossing them in the garbage. Even broken smartphones and gadgets can be sold on sites like Ebay to people who know how to fix them up and re-use or re-sell themselves. Sites like uSell also take working or damaged smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and more. Sellers can sign-up, get an instant offer and ship in your device for free with a 30-day guarantee.
Whatever path you choose to dispose or re-use your electronics, be part of the solution instead of the e-waste problem. You could ultimately help someone in need, earn a little for your own recycling gadgets, score a discount on a refurbished product or just keep electronics out of the landfill.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff.