DIY: Toss Those Old Electronics Without Making the Enviroment Emo

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Sometimes a writer may rarely practice what he or she "preaches" when tedious tasks are involved. In my case, I wrote an article about the need to recycle old electronics in a day and age where people don't recycle--especially in Philadelphia. Roughly a year later, I find myself with an old CRT monitor that I no longer need, a busted cell phone, and an iPod Nano with no battery life. Being busy and all I could easily go the hypocritical route and toss them on the curb for trash collection-- but I won't. Instead I have loftier plans for my old wares, donation and perhaps some recycling. If you find yourself in a similar position here are some relatively painless ways to get rid of those electronics without sending them to a landfill. Besides, who wants to be responsible for sending off hazardous waste that may end up back in the environment?

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When it comes to electronics, you only need to be concerned with reuse and recycling. In fact, it's best to reuse old electronics rather than recycling them first. Reuse of an old item guarantees that it will make it to the end of its life cycle before being reduced to raw materials. After all, if it's not broken and can be fixed, why not use it again? If you're looking to make a bit of profit, selling your old working monitor, cell phone, or gaming console on places like Craigslist and eBay may be best. However, if those items are just too old to sell quickly (or at all), donation is another option.

Non-profit technology groups can be found just about everywhere. They will often accept old computers, and monitors for use in community centers, training, thrift stores and other opportunities for low income communities. If the computers are simply too old to be reused, they'll be recycled instead. Helping out others and finding use for your old computers is always a win-win situation.

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If your electronics are too old to be reused or don't work anymore then recycling is your best option. Broken electronics are demanufactured for their parts and are used in the production of new products. Doing so cuts down on the amount of raw materials needed for new electronics. Many manufacturers and retailers have extensive recycling programs where you drop-off or even mail your unwanted electronics to be disposed of. Even Apple will take back broken iPods, cell phones and computers free of charge. If going to the store to recycle old electronics isn't your style, your city or town government should have its own hazardous waste removal program in place.

No matter how you choose to get rid of your junk, doing so needn't be a waste. So the next time you have a computer, iPod, cell phone or whatever, that you no longer need or want, think twice before trashing it. Not only will you do the environment a favor, but you may do someone else or even your wallet a favor. Captain Planet will certainly thank you by not ramming his foot into your crotch.


Images courtesy of the Basel Action Network and the DrunkenBlog.

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2 Comments

Hi,

I'm a freelancer for Forbes and I wanted to use the photo of all the iPods for a slideshow I'm putting together about ewaste. Let me know if this is possible and if you have a higher res version.

Cheers,
Lindsey

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