Monday, September 27, 2010

EcoMonday: Electronics Recycling

Oh, woe is us: So many electronics, so little recycling.

Let's just address briefly why on earth you'd even try to properly recycle your computers or old electronics.
1. Space: There's no room in your office for that enormous cathode-ray-tube monitor. Plus, that industrial beige doesn't go with your new office decor. Ugh.
2. Data: What if you need to retrieve a file from 1998? It's easier if you don't have to dig out the enormous hard drive in the back of the office storeroom. Also better if you know sensitive data's been properly destroyed.
3. It's the earth, stupid: Hello! Computer chips and components are often made with heavy metals that can be harmful to the earth if just left in a landfill.
4. Your trash is someone else's treasure: So many people can use your discarded electronics, you early adapter, you, so that your sleek MacBook Air (*so* 2008) is someone else's great find. Or, on a more serious note, donating your cell phone can help save someone's life.

So how do you go about recycling your electronics?

First, make sure all your data is wiped. ERevival will send a team to pick up all of your old electronics--everything from VCRs to plasma screens--and reliably destroy all of your data. Their Web site, as well, is a goldmine of great information about recycling your electronic waste.

Second, find a reliable recycler. If you have a smaller amount of ewaste that won't qualify for a large-scale pickup, you can take your old computers, printers, or cell phones down to Goodwill, who will take them off your hands for recycling or resale. (Although the Reconnect program is sponsored by Dell and Microsoft, you can drop off any brand of equipment.)
There are a lot of charities that will gladly take your mobile phone off your hands. At any Verizon retailer, you can drop off your old phone as you're picking up your new one, and your old phone will go to support Hopeline, which provides potential victims of domestic abuse with mobile phones so they have an independent safer phone line to use.

But Hopeline's not the only choice. Here's a great listing of other charities and companies who put your used mobile phones to good use, with almost no effort on your part. And here's a good list of resources in Philadelphia that will help you to recycle efficiently.

There are a lot of good reasons to recycle. And a lot of good ways to do it.

What are your favorite e-waste recycling tips?

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