Nowadays, it seems that gadgets and other “techie stuff” are made to be replaced. Your cell phone can be considered an “old model” if it’s been out in the market for a year. And while there’s nothing wrong with getting all the latest devices that the tech world has to offer, what exactly do we do with the old ones, which accumulate to more than 93 million tons of e-waste every year?
Here are some ways you can properly dispose of all your tech stuff.
Cell phones are usually the first gadgets we replace when a new model rolls around, and— let’s be honest—we usually just toss the old one into the back of the drawer or a long-forgotten corner into the attic to gather dust and mold.
Two effective ways you can properly dispose of your old cell phones are the following:
Donate. You can give an old phone to a friend or relative who might need it. There are also institutions that accept mobile phone and other gadget donations. If no one wants or needs it, you can always sell it online, or you can look into local garage sales where you might be able to get a good price for it.
Send to your carrier. Your carrier would know how to properly dispose of or recycle old devices. You might even receive some cash back for giving back your old unit.
Just remember to wipe your device clean before disposing of it in any manner you choose.
While you don’t always replace your printers, you most definitely change ink cartridges every so often, especially if you’re in an industry that produces a lot of printed material. The thick plastic, plus the dregs of ink in the cartridge, can pose a serious threat to the environment.
You can dispose of these cartridges by:
Making them good as new. There are companies that do not merely refill old cartridges but recycle them to make them on par with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products in terms of performance and quality. This is called remanufacturing. These high-quality remanufactured ink and toner cartridges are endorsed by the EPA because they keep the plastic and metal parts off landfills.
Getting your money back. Some stores accept spent ink and toner cartridges as part of a loyalty program, so check your favorite computer supplies store if they have one. There are other companies that offer a cash credit when you give them your old or used cartridges, no matter the brand.
Before you dispose of any kind of battery, check first what materials it’s made of. Alkaline, nickel, cadmium and carbon-zinc batteries should be placed in hazardous waste collection bins or in community drop-offs for special recycling. There are also stores that have return-to-vendor boxes for batteries. The 9-volt alkaline variant should have its terminals covered with non-conductive tape as these are fire hazards.
Lithium-ion batteries may be dropped off at battery recycling centers, as these have been branded as non-hazardous. If your lithium-ion battery came from your cellular phone, your carrier may also have programs for recycling and disposal of these batteries.
Computers and laptops
Prior to disposing of your desktop computer or laptop, perhaps you might want to consider upgrading some of its components first. However, if you’ve really decided on getting a new unit, here are some ways you can dispose of your computers and laptops:
Let the EPA help. The EPA advocates electronics donation and recycling. Check out their list of stores where you can take your computers and other electronics.
Sell it. After wiping your computers clean of all sensitive data, you can sell your old set-up online. Choose reputable sites to ensure that transactions will go smoothly, and do your research so you can post a reasonable price based on your computer’s specifications and modifications if any.
Modern technology may roll out new products as fast as we can replace them, but we should always be mindful of how these can impact the environment. Let’s all be responsible techies!