Reduce, reuse, eCycle!

Where will your old electronics end up this holiday season?

With the Holiday season coming, many of us will be buying and receiving new electronics for the best part of the holidays – giving and getting presents of course! Cell phones, cameras, camcorders, and televisions are the most popular. A new electronic “toy” is a must-have for many people at Christmas time. I know I fall into that category.

 As a consumer your first reaction is to throw the old ones out, which really means dumping them in the trash or on the sidewalk in front of your house the day after Christmas. I myself in the last six years have had about four new cell phones and sadly they have all ended up in the trash. How about all the cell phone chargers and TV wires too. We forget about all that extra equipment.

As we learn more about the effects of global warming, that first reaction as a consumer of just throwing out the old needs to change. Recycling should be a common effort by everyone. There are actually many different eCycling (electronic recycling) programs out there which I feel a lot of us are unaware of. EPA.gov has a great list of government and local programs along with manufacturer and retailer programs.

The government has donation and recycling programs set up. If you think your electronic device is too old or broken to donate it can be recycled for the recovery of metal, plastic, and glass. For a local program Earth 911 is a website that lets you put in your zip code and find a recycling center close to you. There is also something called the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) which helps you recycle any portable rechargeable batteries found in anything from your remote control, camera, laptop, camcorder, to your power tools. 

As for manufacturer programs, the list is quite long, as it should be. Many of the top manufacturers and national retailers have their own programs. Sony, Best Buy, and AT&T are a few who have their own recycling program which allows you to bring in your old electronics and they will recycle the items for you. I know at my local Best Buy there is a free drop off box right inside the door that is about my height- a staggering 5’1- where you can drop off your old electronics.

The benefits of eCycling are great. You can help others when you donate by giving your old items to people who need it. We also reduce pollution and save energy when we recycle our electronics and they are turned into new products. Most importantly, we protect our health and our Earth by recycling, so don’t forget to eCycle this holiday!

By Megan Lemoi

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