The term electronic waste refers to any electronic device that is no longer wanted or has become obsolete. Electronics classified as e-waste can either be in perfect working condition or be unusable.
Think about how many people ditch their old mobile phones for the newer model or how frequently they discard an old TV for a sleeker, more powerful one. Owing to rapidly changing technology, the rise of disposable income, and easy availability of electronic products, large amounts of e-waste are produced every year.
Do Something points out that a whopping 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed every year. Unfortunately, only about 12.5% of it is recycled. Even more unfortunate is the fact that most of these consumer electronics can be reused or are in perfect working condition. Most devices such as cell phones, laptops, memory sticks, TVs, tablets and batteries end up in landfills and contribute to air and water pollution.
Minimizing electronic waste is one of the best ways to keep our environment safe. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to reduce your family’s e-waste.
Donate or Sell Working Electronics
The simplest way to efficiently manage e-waste is to simply sell your electronics if it’s in good working condition. Go on eBay or Craigslist to sell these items and give it to someone who really needs it. Otherwise, there are recycling websites and comparison websites that will give you a price for your old gadgets and allow you to send them off, to be repurposed or recycled effectively.
Use Your Old Mobile Phone as a GPS Device
Most people swap their old phones for a new one every year. Instead of letting it sit in the desk drawer, or worse, throwing it in the trash, consider using it for some other purpose. You can keep it in your car and use it as a GPS device or music player. Old phones can be converted into universal remote controls or be used to monitor security cameras.
Recycle via a Retailer
Major retailers and brands have in-store, online and drop-off site recycling options. They recycle computers, mobile phones, and TVs. In fact, some will allow you to trade your obsolete equipment for gift cards. Before purchasing electronics, ask the store if they have a buyback program. Most large retailers give that option to customers.
Check E-Cycling Centers in Your State
One way to encourage e-waste management in your household is by trying to give all your electronics that can’t be donated or resold to free sites. They have local groups that are moderated by local volunteers. Membership is free. Alternatively, you can collect all your e-waste once a month and give them away at an e-cycling center in your state.
Organize Your Electronics
Given a number of electronics that we stash away in drawers and cupboards, it’s no wonder that we forget what items we have in our house. Instead of buying new devices, organize your existing ones to see if you really need to buy them. For example, you may be in need of a memory stick but after organizing all your electronics, you may discover that you already have an unused one. Furthermore, try to share gadgets, cords, and connectors with family members rather than buy the same device twice.
Know Your State’s Laws About Battery Disposal
Rechargeable batteries contain hazardous waste which is why some states have made it illegal to throw them away in the trash. The good news is that these types of batteries contain lead, plastic, and metal which can be easily recycled.