An Earth Day Reminder to Responsibly Dispose of Your Electronics

By Christine Schoellhorn | April 22, 2015

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Computer trash

At NDItech, we love our technology and love our planet. For Earth Day 2015, here is a quick reminder on the best ways to reuse or recycle your technology products.

Fix it: Just because it’s broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. If your cell phone, computer, tablet, monitor or other device is in working condition and still meets your needs, look to a local repair shop or contractor to do a quick fix on a still good item. Or better yet, buff up your own repair skills and tackle that motherboard yourself.

Donate it: If your item no longer meets your needs or is broken, but still has functioning components, you should consider donating it. Even if you own a Motorola Kraze or a Blackberry Pearl (reported by Gizmodo to be among the worst cell phones of all time), there are plenty of individuals who could benefit from your old or repairable device. If you decide to donate, be sure to clear the memory beforehand and include any relevant items or user manuals that go with the piece. You can donate your electronic goods to many places, but some of the ones we recommend are:

  • Goodwill’s Reconnect Program (a collaboration with Dell) has expanded to 1,900 centers. They will take a huge list of items in almost any condition.

  • Komputers 4 Kids helps connect low-income children with tech.

  • Auction your item on eBay Giving Works  and 10-100% of the final sale price will go to the non-profit organization of your choice

Sell it: If you don’t want to donate your device, you may consider selling it, as reusing is still the first step to good recycling. E-cycle will buy back most mobile devices (even broken ones).

Responsibly recycle it: If your device is just too old and broken down to be wanted by a charity, you can ensure it is disposed of appropriately by taking it to a center that will responsibly manage the heavy, toxic, and carcinogenic metals many electronics contain.

According to a recent UN report, 70% of our global electronic waste or “e-waste” ends up in Chinese landfills and waste villages that are an “environmental calamity” due to illegal transfers of electronic waste. To make sure your items are recycled safely, take them to one of the following locations:

  • An e-steward certified recycling center. Run by the Basel Action Network, E-stewards ensures toxic chemicals and electronic waste are appropriately managed and disposed of at the highest possible standards.

  • Best Buy has a great recycling program that has responsibly recycled more than 1 billion tons of electronic goods. They take a huge amount of items at absolutely no charge.

  • For rechargeable batteries, reach out to Call2Recyle, a neat non-profit who focuses on this niche need, and takes cell phones too.

  • Manufacturers and Mobile Carriers will usually take back their own stuff at limited to no cost.

  • Apple has a comprehensive recycling program for their products.