E-Waste: How to Recycle Computers, Cell Phones and Other Electronics

Here is the scenario, you are cleaning your house and find all this old tech, clearly it is time for some waste removal. But here is the thing, you don’t want to just through all of these high tech items in the rubbish bin. Surely there is a better way to get rid of them. I mean, they mostly still turn on, perhaps there is a way they can be useful or perhaps you can even get a little bit of money for them. The greenest way would to just keep using them, perhaps upgrade the memory or the like if you could. But if you are set on the waste removal options, there are some choices out there for you. First off, as a bit of a warning, many electronics nowadays hold some kinds of personal information. It could be phone numbers, emails, pictures or any of a host of other items that you may not want to be just given away to anyone. Before you recycle these electronics you should do your best to clear that information off. There is normally a restore or erase all information choice somewhere in the menus. Some companies will offer to do this, but for your piece of mind perhaps you’d like to take care of it first.

So let’s start out with cell phones. With new models coming out every year it’s very clear that the companies have planned these phones to be obsolete. But here is the thing, many of the phones will keep working dependably for years after that newest model comes out. When it is time to part with an old phone there are a number of places to send them. Sometimes you can take in your old phone when buying a new one and receive a credit for it. A number of stores, such as Staples and Best Buy, have a program set up where you can drop off phones and other tech for free and they will recycle them. If you are feeling charitable there are places like Cell Phones for Soldiers. Or there are sites like Flipswap, which will pay you for an old phone and then sell them overseas.

Computers also provide a number of choices when it is time for you to upgrade to a newer model. Some companies, Dell for instance, will pick up your old computer at your home and take it off to be recycled. Again, some of the stores that have collection of other electronics will take old computers and recycle them. If you have a small computer repair shop in your town, consider stopping in and seeing if they would be interested in your old computer. Sometimes it may be worth it to them to refurbish it and sell it to someone looking for a cheap machine.

What about the other array of gadgets and devices we use each day? For the most part you’ll want to check similar places. Smaller and less well known devices may not be bring back any money, but you’ll be able to find places that will take them to be properly recycled. Also many communities have a recycling center, often these will now have a drop off point for electronics, or at least local information on where you can take them.

Don’t let your electronics just be hauled off to the dump when it is junk disposal time. With a minimum amount of effort you can ensure that they are recycled. But why is that important. Well the US EPA says that for every million laptops that are recycled the equivalent electricity of 3,500 homes per year is saved. And 35 thousand pounds of copper can be pulled out of a million recycled cell phones, not to mention the 772 pounds of silver and the 75 pounds of gold.