How to eCycle Unwanted Mobile Phones, Computers, and Televisions
Earth Day is a great annual reminder to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but our commitment to being green should mean being eco-friendly each and every day. We recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers, but what do you do with your digital devices when you’re done with them?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 18% of the 2.25 million tons of TVs, cell phones, and computer products were collected for recycling. 82% were disposed of in landfills. Rather than throwing away devices, e-cycle them.
Did you know that for every million cell phones recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered? Often times mobile phones are in good working order when a user decides to upgrade to a new one.
Giving your phone to your child is a great way to recycle it in an earth-friendly way depending on their age but if you’re looking to get some money back, AT&T allows customers to trade in old wireless phones and tablets. For every qualifying device returned through AT&T’s Trade In Program, customers receive an AT&T Promotion Card whose value can offset the price of a new device.
Before you eCycle your mobile phone, here are some tips to remember:
- Turn it off
- Remove your phone’s SIM card
- Erase your address book, photos, messages, and other stored information to safeguard personal information
According to the EPA, recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. Laptops tend to have a five year lifespan before they become unbearably slow.
Computers that are in good working order are often sought after by charities who can’t afford to spend money on a new one. Even if your machine seems slow, chances are a local school or organization would be happy to take it off your hands and might be able to give you a donation receipt for next year’s taxes. If you’re looking to recoup some money, local CraigsList is a great way to pass along computers especially since there are often individuals looking for certain makes and models that can no longer be purchased.
If your computer doesn’t work, don’t throw it away! Here are some ideas about what you can do with it after you erase the hard drive and ensure that no personal information is left on it:
- Sell it on eBay. Believe it or not, there’s a market for old computers on eBay thanks to tech savvy individuals who are in search of parts.
- Take it apart. How often do kids get to see the inner workings of a computer? Check out a book from the library or do some online research to learn about the parts inside of a computer and how it works.
If you’re getting rid of an old television, ThinkGreen.com says it probably contains a high amount of lead, making it unsafe for landfills. Check with your city or town to ask about the best way to dispose of it or check the Best Buy website to determine if it can be recycled in store.
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