Modern life is full of electronic gadgets. Mobile phones, digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, computers, laptops, monitors and more are common in all modern households. These modern electronic devices provide entertainment and help us in many ways. The problem with them is that they carry out or become outdated, and we face the challenge of handling them.
Easily throwing electronic devices into the trash can be an option, but its an option with a significant environmental impact. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency EPA, over 200 million tonnes of electronic waste e-waste are landed each year in landfills. The problem with this is that many consumer electronics items contain harmful materials like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and more. These materials can contaminate the ground, the water and the air. In fact, over 70% of toxic waste contained in landfills comes from landfill 911.
Some items, such as computers and computer monitors, are prohibited from landfills and trash pickups. In some states and municipalities it is illegal to simply throw away such items. So the challenge is twofold, how to discard properly to comply with applicable laws or how to handle properly because it is environmentally responsible to do.
Most are familiar with recycling of jars, glass, paper and plastic. They either take it to designated recycling centers at landfills or transfer stations, or they are taken up through recycling efforts. Regarding the recycling of our electronic gadgets, the task becomes significantly more difficult. Unlike cans, paper, plastic and glass, there is usually no recycling of electronic devices. You can usually not just take such items and leave them at the landfill or transfer station. Thus recycling requires our gadgets some thoughts and efforts. It is important to know your recovery options for common electronic items.
Recycle electronic devices through donation
An excellent option for electronic gadgets still in working order is to donate them to someone who can avail them. Many schools and communities are happy to receive electronic work. Schools, for example, often appreciate getting donated computers, peripherals and monitors. There are even tax incentives that are incorporated into the 1997 Tax Exemption Act for companies to donate such items to schools. Mobile phones are another object that many community organizations love to get in donation. In addition, there are national organizations that will accept donations of electronic items. Some organizations that accept donations include:
Electronics Industry Alliance EIA
Computers for schools
Another Byte, Inc.
National Cristina Foundation NCF
Share the technology
Educational Assistance Ltd. EAL
911 Mobile Phone Bank
Recycling unwanted electronic gadgets
If reuse through donation is not an option, there are many programs for recovering unwanted electronic items. Many municipalities will have special days at their landfill or transfer station where these items will be accepted for recycling. There may be a fee for these programs.
In addition, many major manufacturers of common electronic products will accept them for recycling, including Acer, Apple, Dell, Epson, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo / IBM, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba. Many major retailers also have recycling programs, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot and Staples.
For mobile phones, many mobile manufacturers and all major wireless companies provide cellular recycling programs. Most of the programs will accept someones cell phones for recycling.
A word about recycling batteries
General Purpose and alkaline batteries are not considered to be hazardous waste by the US Government. These items can be disposed of with ordinary household waste except in California where households must discard them in accordance with California Universal Waste Rules. Recycling programs for general purpose and alkaline batteries are rare.
Rechargeable batteries can be recycled for free. You may find a list of organizations that receive rechargeable batteries in the charging battery.