Electronic waste is on the rise in the United States at a startling rate. In fact, it is growing at nearly three times the rate of any other kind of trash. It is estimated that 85 percent of electronics that can be recycled or donated, aren’t.
Think about it. What really happens to all the cell phones, computer equipment, televisions, and other electronic devices we get rid of when they break or we upgrade? Many times, we just throw them out where they are sent to a landfill. Electronics contain toxic heavy metal components such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, and mercury that can pollute the environment but they also contain valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper. Instead of leaving it in our landfills, you can do your part to get those metals disposed of safely or recycled back into the next generation of electronics. It’s cost-effective for the manufacturer and the customer. And, it’s easy.
Who doesn’t have a used computer, hard drive, printer or video game players stuck in a closet around the house? Consider donating them to a local nonprofit such as Goodwill. They have a partnership with Dell called “Reconnect,” where nearly 2,000 participating Goodwill locations across the U.S. will accept any brand of computer equipment and certain Microsoft products such as Xbox and Zune. Goodwill either sells or responsibly recycles the products and all the money made is used to create job training and employment opportunities for people in your community. Goodwill will wipe all of the personal information off of working hard drives. Nonworking units will have a spike drilled through the hard drive to make sure your information stays safe.
If you have computer parts hanging around, you probably also have an old cell phone or two. There are many ways you can give one of these millions of cell phones new life. Many cell phone providers will take back your old models and recycle them for you. And, AT&T, Verizon, Motorola, and Sprint are some of the companies involved in the wireless recycling network of ReCellular, the world’s leading recycler and reseller of cell phones. Cell Phones for Soldiers is another organization I love. They provide prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas with every donated cell phone they receive.