Consumer Technology electronic life cycle

Published on September 15th, 2008 | by Michelle Bennett

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Cleaning Up Tech: How To Recycle Old Electronics

September 15th, 2008 by  

electronic life cycleEvery time I buy a new gadget it’s like welcoming a new pet into the family. You go to the store, select the perfect little tyke, and rush home to introduce it to your existing collection. The best part? No jealousy among your older electronics: they’re made to play together.

But electronics rarely last as long as a real pet. As faithfully as it might serve you, within a few years it’s time to put that gadget out to pasture. This is your guide to the greenest pastures around.

Re-use

Good news! If your electronic is still in good shape, you can sell it. That’s right, get a little something back for that expensive hardware. Ecopreneurist has profiled two handy companies before:

Gazelle.com

TechForward

They will give you cash for your gadgets. You can also try your luck Ebay’s Rethink Initiative. Not interested in the money? You can still donate or Freecycle your e-stuff. Also try TechSoup.org. Their site was undergoing maintenance when I wrote this article, but it comes highly recommended.

Recycle

e-waste

With the digital TV transition looming in the USA and underway abroad, recycling old electronics that no one can use anymore is a very big deal.

Any BestBuy will take your old cellphones, rechargeable batteries and ink cartridges for free. If you buy a new TV from them and have it delivered, they’ll recycle your old TV for free.

Individual companies like Samsung, Nokia and Sony offer free recycling programs for their products internationally. These companies have even earned kudos for their efforts from environmental groups. The U.S. EPA has a complete list of corporate efforts for electronic recycling, and resources to find a local program.

For a quick search in your local area, try:

Earth911

The Electronics Take-Back Coalition

My Green Electronics

The European Union has the WEEE Directive to encourage proper e-waste disposal, but it’s implemented differently in every country. A quick Google search for your local area should get you started.

In Australia, try Recycling Near You.

In China, take-back programs started to be implemented in 2007.

In India, check out the E-Waste guide or maybe the E-Exchange.

It’s important that you sell or recycle your electronics instead of throwing them away. Almost all electronics contain poisonous and valuable heavy metals and chemicals. Since most items can be sold for reuse or recycled for free, it’s easy to go green and recycle your gadgets.

Check out these videos on YouTube

Photos via that Flickr Creative Commons License: “Broken Motherboard” by R▲▲S, and “E-Waste” by ▌ÇP▐

Related Articles:

Greening PCs and their Life cycles

TVs Go Digital

What about Data Centers?


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About the Author

is an environmentalist who loves to write. She grew up across the southeastern USA and especially love the Appalachian mountains. She went to school in the northeast USA in part to witness different mindsets and lifestyles than those of my southern stomping grounds. She majored in English Lit. and Anthropology. She has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, which introduced her to a wilderness and the complex issues at play in the places where relatively few people go. She also taught English in South Korea for a year, which taught her to take nothing for granted.



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