The improper disposal of e-waste is a real problem today. According to one study, of 53.6 million metric tons of unwanted electronics, only 17.4% of it was properly collected and recycled. As we generate more and more e-waste with quickly advancing technology, it’s essential to take the right steps to dispose of your electronics properly.
Best Ways to Deal With E-Waste
The three best ways to deal with electronics waste are repairing, recycling, and donating old equipment. We’ve highlighted information about each of these methods in the sections below to help you make an informed decision.
Disclaimer: Before disposing of a PC, tablet, smartphone, or any device that stores details about you, take proper precautions to protect your identity. It is recommended to wipe your hard drive and memory cards to ensure that your personal information doesn’t land in the wrong hands. More often than not, simple reformatting will do the trick, or you can probably find a specialist nearby who can help you for cheap.
Recycling is a great way to deal with unwanted items, electronics or otherwise. When you recycle e-waste, the company may extract valuable natural resources like silver and gold from the devices. These resources can be reused, decreasing the need for surface mining to extract metals from the earth.
First, check with the manufacturer of your device if they have a program to take the product back. Take-back programs are slowly expanding to improve sustainability and protect the environment. More and more companies are now allowing customers to return some models when no longer needed.
Some companies with a take-back program in place include Hewlett Packard, Apple, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony. You may need to pay a small fee to return your computer, and you’ll probably be asked to agree with a handful of other terms and conditions. While some companies accept electronics of any brand, other brands accept products from their brand only. Once received, your e-waste is recycled by the manufacturer or refurbished.
In addition to the names mentioned above, various other national recycling companies will happily accept your e-waste for free or a nominal fee, depending on the company.
It is highly recommended to check the reputation of the company before handing them your e-waste. It is essential to ensure that they dispose of the waste responsibly and ethically, or else it will defeat the entire purpose of recycling. That said, a lot many companies are flagged for not recycling correctly. Typically, they extract resellable and valuable parts of the device and then toss the remainders into a landfill, which is precisely what you don’t want.
Repair Or Donation
Head over to an electronics repair shop to find out if they can repair an item or if it’s worth repairing. Ideally, repairing your gadgets and other electronics is the best way. It reduces the supply and demand for new products and keeps a usable item away from the landfill, contributing positively to the environment.
However, if the item cannot be repaired or is of no use to you, the best way to deal with it is to donate. As long as the device is in working condition, you can choose to donate it to an organization or person in need. Think of places like senior homes, schools, and charities. These places often accept donations to help the needy.
Here are a few programs and foundations you can contact:
Komputers 4 R Kids is based in Southern California. It aims to make technology easily accessible to lower-income families. The charity accepts almost all electronic devices, except household appliances.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation makes gaming consoles, computers, and other related gadgets often used by children easily accessible to them while receiving and recovering from treatment. If you have any spare electronics that are in working condition, this is a great option to spread happiness.
Dell and Goodwill have been collaborating since 2004 and have collected more than 96 million pounds of electronics. They have their presence in about 2,000 Goodwill locations. All you need to do is take your unwanted electronics to a participating store, and you are done.
This is another innovative approach that supports a good cause. StRUT is a program that provides schools in Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, with reusable technology equipment. Students use these devices to develop their refurbishing skills and up their career in technology.
E-waste is a global problem today. By checking our buying habits and adopting the best ways to dispose of old and unwanted electronics, we all can do our little bit towards the planet.