Posts Tagged ‘ green ’

How to eCycle Unwanted Mobile Phones, Computers, and Televisions

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

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, 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.

Cleaning of old computer equipment for recycling via Shutterstock

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3 Tech Savvy Energy Savers for Earth Day

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

With Earth Day right around the corner, we may be feeling a little more inspired to be green but leading a more green lifestyle can also help you save your family’s green.  Advances in technology help us lead a more efficient lifestyle. Here are 3 ways to save money by making your technology work for you while helping the environment at the same time.

Eliminate the vampire suck by unplugging or investing in a smart plugging strip. While putting devices to sleep might be an energy saving measure, it’s often better to unplug to prevent energy from being sucked from your home.  According to Energy Star, the average household spends $100 each year to power devices when they’re off or in standby mode.  If you prefer to leave your devices plugged in, invest in a smart plugging strip like the iGo Green Power Smart Tower that stop the flow of Vampire power when they’re done charging. If you’re not sure if a smart power strip is really a good investment, iGo allows you to calculate your vampire loss to help you determine how much energy you’re bleeding.

Wash your clothes in cold water.  Heating water for a warm or hot cycle of laundry can account for up to 80 percent of the energy used per wash load in the United States.  Since a cold water wash cleans your clothes just as well, switch to a cold cycle wash to clean your clothes just as well but saves energy and is better for the environment.

Update your appliances. If you’ve been contemplating a new washer, dryer, dishwasher, or refrigerator, there’s no time like the present. With technology constantly improving, appliances are becoming more energy efficient.  Last year we replaced our 10 year old dishwasher with a Bosch one that costs less than $30 a year to run and uses 1.7 gallons of water with each load.  How did I know which dishwasher would be the most efficient? Each appliance comes with a large yellow Energy Guide label. Besides listing key features, manufacturer, model, size, etc., the most useful information is the graphic displaying average yearly energy use to other models with similar features.  The Energy Guide label also indicates the approximate yearly energy cost of operating the appliance.  Also be sure to look for Energy Star rating when shopping for appliances since Energy Star ratings indicate a Federal energy efficiency standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hands make heart shape via Shutterstock

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