Proper Disposal: How to Get Rid of Your Electronics Without Destroying the Earth
By Hannah Whittenly
Consumer electronics like mobile devices and TVs are evolving constantly, so that you’re constantly having to upgrade if you want the fastest service and latest apps or features. The net result is that society is tossing millions of tons of e-waste into the trash every year. These products typically contain large amounts of non-biodegradable plastics as well as toxins like lead and mercury. It’s important that we find ways to reduce the effects of this lifestyle on our environment. Here are some better ways to curb your electronic pollution.
Curb the Urge to Buy
If you accept the marketing of the manufacturers, communications companies, and software vendors, you get the idea that you have to have the latest upgrade or you’ll be left behind. That’s a great line of thought if you’re selling, but a terribly wasteful habit if you’re buying. Keep your old devices as long as they suit your needs to reduce manufacture and waste.
Donate Your Device
When you do decide to upgrade, don’t just drop that old device into the rubbish. Instead of adding more e-waste, think about donating it to someone who wants it. If it’s still perfectly good, or can be upgraded or repaired, it will be of value to someone. Find an organization that will accept it. Schools, charities, and non-profit organizations will be happy to have them.
Recycle or Sell
There are any number of companies that will allow you to recycle electronics, often electronics manufacturers or retailers. Some will give you trade-in credit for you old products. Many devices also contain trace amounts of gold, platinum, palladium, and other metals that can be reclaimed. Several companies make it their business to buy and refurbish used electronics for resale or parts. You may be able to reduce e-waste and make a few bucks in the process.
Even if you don’t have the time or resources to donate or recycle electronics, throwing them in the garbage is the wrong thing to do. Much of this e-waste is shipped off to third-world countries so that huge piles of it sit in the open air leaching toxins into the soil and water systems. Find a conscientious waste disposal company, like Ware Disposal, that observes their own recycling practices for dealing with this kind of waste.
As people become more reliant on digital connectivity, the problem grows. Every time you can extend the useful life of your gadgets, you’re keeping e-waste out of the environment.