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Consumers recycle their electronics and appliances for a number of reasons, ranging from wanting to upgrade their devices to desiring more energy-efficient items. Smart choices when recycling electronics can save the ground and water from contamination. As e-waste grows, the recycling and donating of these common home and personal items offers a practical solution to a modern and potentially dangerous problem. Going green with future electronics and appliance choices can help reduce environmental impact while also lowering energy bills. With a few great recycling strategies in hand, consumers can make conscientious decisions to help protect the environment now and in the future.
The Problem With E-Waste
Modern technological conveniences often make our lives easier, but improper disposal of these devices can negatively impact the environment. Developing countries are especially susceptible to the environmental ravages of old electronics, as a large percentage of the developed world's e-waste is exported to these countries. Since regulation can be less stringent in developing countries, environmental laws protecting the earth and the region's inhabitants can be rare. While ridding your house of unwanted or old electronics could be considered home improvement, the environmental costs of irresponsible disposal can negate any freed-up space.
- As E-Waste Piles Up, Disposal Issues Grow
- Replacing Old Smartphones With Newer Models Creates Environmental Problems
- E-Waste in Developing Countries Endangers Environment, Locals
- India's Electronic Waste Problem
- Children's Environmental Health: Electronic Waste
- Bringing Harmony to Electronic Waste Disposal
Going Green & Recycling Your Electronics
One of the benefits of recycling electronics is that the act can allow for a remodeling of your environmental consciousness. When purchasing new electronics, you'll have the ability to choose Energy Star-rated products or other resource-economical items. Reading energy labels on electronics before you purchase them can give you the opportunity to select products that use a reasonable amount of electricity. Recycling your electronics can reduce construction processes and ensure that your electronics' new owners can enjoy your items without the need for brand-new materials or the manufacturing wastes they might cause.
- Greener Gadgets
- Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics
- Guide to Recycling (PDF)
- Electronic Waste (E-Waste)
- Recycling Your Electronic Waste
- Electronics Recycling Laws and Guidelines
- Demanufacturing and Shredding During the E-Cycling Process
In recycling terms, appliances that are designated for recycling are often referred to as "white goods." Certain brands of electronics may also have specific recycling guidelines or programs associated with them. Components of electronics, such as printer cartridges, often come with recycling instructions contained within their retail packaging. Generally, it can be a good idea to check with the manufacturer of specific appliances or electronics for guidance on how to recycle items. Local recycling centers or city websites may offer further suggestions if manufacturers don't run in-house recycling programs. For particularly large or heavy items, consider hiring a private curbside recycling service to take electronics or appliances on your behalf.
- Advice About Recycling Appliances
- Recycling TVs
- Call2Recycle: Rechargeable Battery and Cellphone Drop-off Locations
- Safe Disposal of Refrigerated Household Appliances: Frequently Asked Questions
- What Do I Do With Appliances?
- Printer Ink Cartridge Recycling Information
Giving appliances and electronics to charities is a great way to relieve yourself of your old gadgets in a truly positive manner. Aside from giving a person in need the opportunity to use the appliance and helping to conserve the environment, your donation may also be tax-deductible. Donating large items like appliances can also offer you the opportunity to engage in a bit of home improvement or remodeling and invest in electronics or appliances that are more energy-efficient and environmentally sound. Matching yourself with an appropriate charity to donate to can be easy. Start by determining which charities local to you accept appliance donations, and then choose the charity that speaks to your personal philosophies, philanthropic causes, or interests.
- Donate Goods to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Salvation Army Appliance Donation Value Guide
- Guide to Donating to Goodwill
- Donate Computers to the United Way
Before You Recycle or Donate
Once you decide to recycle or donate your electronics and appliances, certain steps should be taken to reduce your liability and protect yourself from unnecessary problems. To guard your privacy, data on electronics like computers and cell phones needs to be deleted. Reformatting electronics so that they are returned to their factory state can ensure that devices are wiped clean of all personal information. It can also be a good idea to remove the batteries of any electronics that you want to recycle. Batteries can contain dangerous acids that need to be handled carefully and recycled in special centers. Similarly, major appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners need to have the Freon removed before they are donated, recycled, or disposed of. Local municipalities, scrap yards, or even a contractor from an appliance repair store may be able to help you to rid your appliance of this potentially troublesome chemical.
- E-Cycling Central: Find a Recycler
- EPA Refrigerant Recycling Rules (PDF)
- Appliance Recycling Guide (PDF)
- How to Properly Dispose of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Equipment (PDF)
- CFC Appliance Recycling and Recovery Practices (PDF)
- How to Donate Your Computer to Charity