Be a good person – recycle old electronics
Oh that shiny iPhone 5 has got all of the Apple fanatics ready to lose sleep and shill out some big bucks. But what to do with the old tech that goes by the wayside when the “latest and greatest” hits the streets? This doesn’t just apply to smartphones. A lot of us get rid of old, unwanted electronics… you’re not just throwing them out, are you? Electronics are full of components that A), A) can be recycled, and B) create toxic pollution hazards if disposed of improperly. According to the EPA, 80% of old electronics are just tossed into the garbage. Diligent e-waste recycling is one of the next frontiers in mainstream green living.
But even thoughtful folks are getting duped by disposal companies that claim to practice recycling and proper disposal, but actually just dump old electronics in Third World nations. Out of sight, out of mind, but not so cool for Mother Earth and the poor people who pick through that waste and expose themselves to all manner of toxic compounds.
The recommendation from the EPA is to check with one of two e-cycling certification organizations prior to handing over your e-waste. e-Stewards are the recognized leaders in holding recyclers accountable to acceptable practices. The other company recommended by the EPA is R2, but this certifier has met with criticism within the green movement for not being stringent enough in several key areas. My advice: go with e-Stewards, they have the pro rep and are clearly more active in finding solutions that land on the green side of the balance, rather than creating compromises that are appealing to industry.
25 states are on board with regulations that require responsible disposal, and some big retailers – led by Dell and Best Buy – are trying to up the rate of e-waste recycling. Also, don’t forget to sell or donate working electronics so they can be reused, which has the least impact on the environment. Anyone need an old pager?