Electronic waste contains hazardous substances such as lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants. There is a high chance of these hazardous compounds contaminating the soil, leaking into water bodies, and polluting the air if electronics are disposed of improperly.
How to Safely Dispose of Electronics
Disposing of electronics is not as simple as throwing old newspapers in the garbage. In fact, it is against the law to dump outdated electronics in several states.
In this article, you’ll learn why it’s important to recycle electronics correctly, how to reuse outdated gadgets, and how to get rid of them while protecting the environment, your family, and yourself.
1. Delete all Your Important Data Before Discarding an Electronic Gadget
Before disposing of the old equipment, check your user manuals and internet FAQs to learn how to wipe your computer, phone, or tablet to its default settings. You don’t want your account information, passwords, private photos, and other information to fall into the wrong hands.
Back up any data you want to keep on another device or an external hard drive. Verify the encryption of your data. After that, perform a factory reset to return the electronic gadget to its default settings.
Go to the settings menu on your tablet or phone to do a factory reset. Tap “General” and then “Reset” on an iPhone or iPad. For an Android device, press “Security,” then “Security Wipe,” or “About” and “Reset” (for Windows phones).
2. Take The Gadget To a Community Center, Elderly Care, Or School
Used gadgets are accepted by many neighborhood schools or organizations that don’t need a lot of bandwidth or cutting-edge equipment. The gadgets will be used by older individuals learning how to use technology or by kids who might not have access to them at home. Give them a call in advance to learn what kinds of electrical equipment they accept and how to donate them.
With the help of the National Cristina Foundation, people who want to donate used devices can be connected to needy schools. You may look up nearby schools on their website.
3. Donate to Charity by Providing Old Technology
A charity organization could find a use for your old PC, microwave, or TV. Before getting rid of your old devices, you should ask yourself these two questions:
Is the electrical equipment functional?
Are there any of your private details on the computer?
You can pick from a wide variety of organizations’ and companies’ electronic donation schemes. Always enquire in advance about the sort of equipment the organization accepts and its state. To find a charity organization that needs your appliances, go to the Electronics Industry Alliance website, where you will find a list of all the groups in the US that accept donations of used electronics.
There are organizations that focus on particular gadgets. For instance, Secure the Call collects mobile phones while PCs with Causes gather computers and computer components.
According to their website, Dell Reconnect collaborates with Goodwill and takes “just about everything that can be linked to a computer,” in addition to any brand of computer. At selected Goodwill shops around the nation, you may donate old electronics.
The World Computer Exchange is dedicated to bridging the digital divide in underdeveloped nations and promoting responsible recycling and reusing of devices. It gives communities all around the world second-hand computers, peripherals, and a wide range of other technology.
4. Utilize Take-Back Programs Provided by Manufacturers and Retailers
Many electronic manufacturers have an exchange program whereby they accept your old devices when you buy a newer model, occasionally giving you a discount on your new acquisition.
Efficient recycling programs are offered by many electronics shops and manufacturers. On the website of the Environmental Protection Agency, a chart allows you to search for programs by firm or product.
A few recycling programs have established electronic drop-off locations for devices like cell phones and tablets, which are then recycled. You may inquire about drop-off options at your neighborhood electronics stores.
In addition to video games and music CDs, Amazon offers gift cards for almost every type of electronic gadget. Some products could qualify for a one-time promotional credit that can be applied to a new qualified Amazon device.
For eligible goods, Apple’s GiveBack program gives up to $1,530 in gift cards or in-store credit. Any item that doesn’t fit the criteria will also be accepted and recycled by the firm.
For up to 10 or 20 cartridges per month, Office Depot and Staples, respectively, provide store credit of $2 per printer cartridge to members of their loyalty programs (with some limits). Most printer companies, like HP, Canon, and Epson, offer their own recycling schemes.
5. Turn Your Outdated Electronics into Cash
If your working gadgets no longer meet your needs, they can be ideal for someone who is unable to afford brand-new equipment. You may tap into internet sites like Craigslist, eBay, or even resort to hosting a garage sale, as this will enable you to get rid of your outmoded equipment as well as make some money.
For instance, old Nintendo video games are good examples that may sell for as much as $40 apiece. Most electronic stores are always willing to buy your used equipment.
The Facebook Marketplace is another place you can market your appliances with little effort. There are no fees, and you may select your ad to be picked up only and meet the buyer at your door if you don’t believe an item is worth posting or are concerned about getting damaged in transit.
It may be worthwhile to advertise on eBay if you have several products to sell and believe that paying a charge to reach more people is beneficial.
6. Bring your Electronics to a Recycling or Collection Location Nearby
For a list of locations to recycle your electronics, get in touch with your neighborhood waste management company or public works department. Before you visit, find out which electronics they allow. A free database of electronics recyclers around the nation is available from the National Center for Electronics Recycling.
You might have to pay a little fee for recycling your devices. For instance, recycling TVs costs $5 to $7 in California.
You can find the curbside collection, special collection days, and e-cycling initiatives in several towns and states.
The Computer Technology Association’s Recycle Locator and Earth911‘s vast recycling database both allow you to search for local choices by providing your ZIP code and the item you want to recycle. You can call 800-CLEANUP for assistance from Earth911 as well.
Safety Tips for Electronics Disposal
Be Aware of the Risk
Although managing sensitive paper documents is now widely known, it is just as important to destroy your electronic files in a safe manner. Thousands of records with sensitive information can be stored on a single hard drive or phone. Your customers and staff may be vulnerable to fraud and identity theft should this data get into the wrong hands.
Adhere to Your State’s e-Waste Disposal Regulations
The environment is endangered by the harmful elements found in digital gadgets. Disposing of devices like computers, TVs, and printers in the regular trash that is taken to the landfill is prohibited in several places, such as California, New York, and Illinois.
You could get fined for doing that. So beware and find out from your municipality whether they have days set aside for collecting e-waste. Ensure you separate, manage, and dispose of your electronic waste according to the regulations.
Keep the Disposal Documents Intact
You must be able to substantiate your claims that your digital device disposal procedures and federal and state requirements are in compliance. If not, your business might face severe fines and penalties.
To demonstrate your devotion, a hard drive and media destruction service gives a Certificate of Destruction that contains the serial number, model, and manufacturer of your device.
Take Out Batteries and Recycle Them Separately.
Contact your local recycling agency or visit a nearby domestic hazardous waste collection station to find out where to take your old batteries. Battery recycling locations in every state are listed on the website of Call2Recycle, a nationwide organization that offers free residential battery recycling.
Other tips to keep in mind:
- The product should only be opened by authorized service workers and not by the users themselves.
- The product is not intended to be mixed with household garbage.
- Never leave any spare parts of the product that have been changed in an exposed area.
- Avoiding dumping e-Waste in Landfills