Online Recycling Resources
- The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation: Find a drop-off location in your zip code; more than 50,000 communities, businesses, and retailers participate throughout the United States and Canada.
- Sony Take-Back Recycling Program: Recycle old Sony electronics free at a participating drop-off center; non-Sony products can also be recycled for a fee.
- National Cristina Foundation: Donate your old computer, and NCF will get it to someone who needs it.
- FreeCycle Network: Connect with others interested in donating and receiving used items.
Quick question: How many different electronic products do you and your family use daily? Too many to count? You're not alone. Technology has become a major part of our lives, so much so that it's tough — or in a kid's case, impossible — to remember how we did things before the high-tech heyday we live in now.
Along with all this new tech comes the added accumulation of "e-waste," unusable or broken electrical or electronic equipment. If not properly disposed of, this waste can spread toxins into the natural world. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we'll trash nearly 2 million tons of it this year. Because life becomes more digitized every day, we need to start good e-waste disposal habits now — and instill them in our kids — to keep the planet's future running as smoothly as our computers and iPods.
Fortunately, many of these electronic products or their parts can be recycled. For example, when the rechargeable batteries in many cordless devices are no longer useful, the nickel, lead, iron, and cobalt in them can be used in new batteries and stainless steel.
Sounds easy, right? It is — if you know where to turn.
First, check with your local solid waste management offices for the your town's laws on electronics and rechargeable battery disposal. Some cities prohibit consumers from including rechargeable batteries in their regular solid waste. And many communities offer free electronics recycling days or offer take-back programs at local landfills and garbage collection sites.
Many retailers and local organizations also provide resources for the public at large to make the recycling of used electronics a simple and easy process. Major retailers, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples, RadioShack, and hundreds of others participate in the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation's Call2Recycle program, which provides collection boxes for used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones so consumers can help the environment while shopping for new technology and supplies. You can also get rid of your old electronics and gadgets while giving back to the community through organizations like the FreeCycle Network, which connects people who want to exchange or donate old items.
Whether by bringing your old electronics to a local collection facility or by donating them to an organization in need, there are many ways you can put old electronics back in business and help protect our world. Just remember, every item re-used is one less dumped in a landfill.