[Article]: Are you trying to get rid of an old computer or TV? If so, you should know that you can't just throw it in the trash. Find out more here.
So you've finally decided to get rid of your ancient MP3 player? Congratulations on taking this momentous step.
After all, your MP3 has become utterly obsolete by now, so it's time to follow the property electronic disposal procedures. Sure, you might think about your MP3 as this tiny device. Is it that big of a deal to just throw it away in the trash?
Yes. The answer to that is yes.
Your cute little device is a part of the growing global pile of e-waste. E-waste is a global issue that directly contributes to the ever-present climate change problem, and it's toxic to humans.
If this is the first time you're even hearing about the concept of e-waste, no worries. You've come to the right place.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of what e-waste entails, why it's important to properly dispose of your electronics. And, of course, how to do so properly.
E-Waste: The Basics:
Most of us know rather well the process of purchasing a new electronic device. However, how much of us know what happens after they become obsolete? What is their final resting place, do we just bury them?
Unfortunately, your devices don't just disappear into the ether. They become e-waste, which is short for electronic waste.
When old electronic products stop working, they've reached the end of their life span, or you simply don't want them anymore, they're considered e-waste.
This term covers gadgets like microwaves, your smartphones, your radios, washing machines, screens, printers, of anything with a motherboard.
Think of anything that runs with batteries or has a cable cord.
Why You Should Properly Dispose Of Your Electronics:
In the simplest of terms, electronic waste is fast becoming an unsolvable problem on a global scale.
We're cracking out new technology and gadgets with the speed of light. This is partially due to the market's demand for new products, as well as the ever-shrinking lifespan of those products.
With only 15% to 20% of the current e-waste amounts being recycled, the remaining 80% or so goes straight to landfills or incinerators. In some cases, they can also be exported to developing countries as spare parts, which is illegal.
In short, the main reason behind environmentally-conscious organizations and watchdogs raising the alarm is due to the high level of toxicity that comes from those electronic components.
Lead, mercury, polyvinyl chloride, and even beryllium are all rather harmful to both our bodies and the environment.
Electronic Disposal 101: How Do I Dispose Of My Electronics?
There are different ways you can safely dispose of your electronics. Let's start with the obvious ones, then make our way to less-known ones.
You can take a shortcut and check out Hcienv.com for a variety of disposal options.
Give It to a Recycler:
You'll want to look for your local communities or non-profit organizations in your area. More likely than not, you'll find that they have programs specifically dedicated to recycling old electronics.
But, before you put your old electronics in your car and go to the drop-off points, you'll want to contact them to ensure that you've got the right information and working hours.
When in doubt, you can check out one of the giants in the field, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International. They have a list of all the certified facilities that have the option of electronic recycling.
Donate or Sell It:
You'd be surprised at the sheer amount of places who would love to get their hands on your old gadgets, whether they're still working or not.
Start your search by looking into recreation centers, especially the ones that cater to the older generation. After you've selected the ones that best align with your values, you can get a receipt of your donation.
This is a great way to tap into the tax deduction for your next year's tax return.
Some of the more well-known programs are Dell Reconnect, the World Computer Exchange, and eBay for Charity.
Dell Reconnect has a running partnership with Goodwill, where it accepts almost any electronic gadget. You can simply drop off your devices at the participating Goodwill locations, and you're good to go.
The World Computer Exchange is a fun organization that's aiming to reduce the digital divide between folks in different developing countries. It does that by properly recycling and promoting the reuse of old gadgets.
As for the eBay for Charity program, it's quite simple. The platforms allow you to sell your selected devices, and you can donate all (or part) of the proceeds to your preferred charitable organization.
Take Your Gadgets to a Tech Company:
Who is better at reusing and figuring out the best way to recycle old electronics than the tech firms that manufactured them in the first place?
You'll find that the majority of electronics retailers or manufacturers already have recycling programs ready to receive your old devices.
Examples of those programs are Amazon, Apple's GiveBack program, and anything that has to do with Best Buy.
Amazon can send you gift cards for any type of electronic device, which you can use to buy whatever you want. Sometimes, they might even give you promotional credit for new Amazon devices.
If the electronics you're looking to recycle are Apple products, you're going to get the best bang for your buck from Apple's GiveBack program.
Similar to Amazon, they'll be giving you in-store credit or gift cards if they really want your device. If not, they'll still take your products and recycle them for you, if they don't qualify for any Apple credit.
On the other hand, Best Buy will take whatever you have. They'll recycle them if they have a battery or a cable cord, no matter the type of device and no matter where you originally bought them from.
Ready to Respectfully Lay Your Old Electronics to Rest?
Sometimes, we get attached to our old gadgets. The ancient Walkman, anyone?
However, it's not of much use to anyone collecting dust in one of your cabinets. It's time to let it go, with a proper send-off.
Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on your options for electronic disposal, and why it's so important to do.
If you enjoyed the tips in this article, you'll want to check out our technology section for the latest tech news and advice.
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