Recycle electronics for Earth Day and every day

Tips for electronics (E-Waste) recycling

By Kaia Johnson Kemper 

Guest Columnist

 

Love them or hate them, we all rely on electronics. Unfortunately we don’t always know how to safely dispose of them. Electronics don’t belong in the garbage. Many contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium or mercury.

Calling all cell phones

Reusing or recycling cell phones conserves materials, prevents air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and processing. Did you know only 10 percent of cell phones are recycled? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if Americans recycled the approximately 130 million cell phones that are disposed of annually, we could save enough energy to power 24,000 homes in a year.

Here are three easy, earth-friendly ways to dispose of unwanted cell phones:

• Many charitable organizations collect used cell phones for fundraising. To find a cell phone donation program, search the Internet for “cell phone donation.”

• All cell phone manufacturer and wireless service providers offer take-back programs at their stores or by mail.

• Several companies will pay you for your no-longer-needed phone such as Gazelle or Usell. You can also sell your cell on E-bay or Craigslist.

Before reusing or recycling your phone, take a moment to remove personal data (such as phone numbers and emails), deactivate service and run the battery down until it is empty. More disposal suggestions are at RethinkRecycling.com.

Electronics, TVs and computers

Many of us have several types of household electronics that must be safely disposed of after they’ve run their course. How many of these items might you find in your own household?

• CD, DVD and MP3 players, VCRs, radios, speakers, stereos and remote controls;

• Computer equipment (desktops, laptops, tablets, monitors, keyboards);

• Printers, fax machines and data storage devices;

• Game consoles and camera equipment.

Thankfully, there are a growing number of resources that will accept and recycle unwanted electronics. Retailers, such as Best Buy, Office Depot and Staples offer recycling programs. In addition, there are several disposal sites across the metro area that recycle a variety of consumer electronics.

You can also check out city and neighborhood collection events or contact your garbage hauler. You can get more reduce, reuse and recycle information for residences and businesses at RethinkRecycling.com.

Happy Earth Day! Green Cities 2014

Each year, on April 22, over a billion people around the world take action for Earth Day. We plant trees, clean up our communities and try to “live green.” As populations migrate to cities, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever.

This great comment on how to celebrate Earth Day was posted at RethinkRecycling.com:

“I work for a company in the Twin Cities area and we have a small group of employees that will be celebrating Earth Day by walking to a nearby park and spending a couple hours picking up trash, and of course, recycling any cans/bottles we encounter. It’s a great way to get outside on a beautiful day, get some fresh air, and help out the local community!”

Momentum is building to transform our urban areas and create a green and sustainable future. Visit the Green Cities website to learn more.

 

About RethinkRecycling.com: The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board launched its first education outreach campaign in 2003 to help citizens living in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington understand the urgent need to make environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal decisions in their daily lives. The board is proud to sponsor its current campaign, RethinkRecycling.com.

 
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