WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR ELECTRONIC RECYCLABLES
By Lauren Indvik
Edited by Aida Cipriani
Consumer electronics, a broad category that includes TVs, computers, audio devices, phones and other related devices, currently constitutes nearly 2% of the municipal solid waste stream and is steadily rising at a rate of 8% per year. According to the EPA, of the roughly 2.25 million tons of used and unwanted electronics each year, 18% is collected for recycling and roughly 82% winds up in landfills.
These are unfortunate statistics given the many useful and eco-friendly alternatives for disposing of your old electronics — not to mention tax breaks for consumers. We’ve highlighted a few of these options below, along with information about preparing your unwanted goods for donation.
What to Do Before Donation
- Don’t wait. If you’re no longer using a device, donate it as soon as you can. The value of consumer electronics declines at a fast pace. A computer that’s three years old, for instance, can be refurbished and used by students; a computer that’s six years old will most likely be recycled for parts.
- Clear the hard drive. This is essential for maintaining your privacy. Not sure how to clear your computer’s hard drive? Check out this video guide at PC World.
- Include related materials. If you’re donating a computer, include any manuals, monitors, keyboards, connection cables, software, etc. you have that you no longer need.