As a society, we have an immense turnover from electronic devices. This is partly due to an increase in new technology, making older devices no longer relevant, and also due to the natural wear and tear that our devices experience. The service life of electronics is expected to be 11.8 years for a laptop, 6.5 years for a desktop computer, five years for a tablet and only two years for a smartphone.
This short lifespan causes a large amount of e-waste. The University of the United Nations reported that in 2016 the annual worldwide accumulation of e-waste had reached 49.3 million tons. In 2021 it is predicted that this number will reach 57.5 million tonnes.
What is E-Waste?
Electronic waste or electronic waste includes all electronics that are at the end of their life. This can be a computer that is outdated and not working properly or a video recorder that is no longer relevant or useful to the owner.
Fortunately, almost 100 percent of e-waste is recyclable. Even if the device is not capable, there are plastic, metal, glass, palladium, copper, silver, and even gold parts that can be recovered and reused. According to the EPAfor every million mobile phones that we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
How do you recycle old electronics?
When you recycle your devices, you must dispose of them safely so that they can be used again. In many countries it is illegal to throw this electronics in a normal garbage bin or recycling bin. Electronic products contain toxic substances such as mercury, lead and cadmium that must be carefully and safely removed. There are three ways to recycle your device: donate it, have technical companies recycle it or take it to a designated recycler yourself. To help you find the best way to recycle your device, view our recycling electronics infographic or read on below.
1. Donate it
If your device is still functional (and in some cases even if it is not), you can donate it to people who need electronics. There are many charities that can use or repair your device and resell it for their purpose. Donating to these charities not only helps the greater good of the organization, but if you donate to a library, school or non-profit organization, you can tax benefit on next year's tax return. Browse the remarkable charities below that accept electronic donations.
Donate to charities Working with disadvantaged communities
- World Computer Exchange works to reduce the digital gap for young people in developing countries by using donations for the construction of computer rooms in primary and university colleges.
- human I-T is an organization that uses and repairs unwanted technology so that it can deliver it to people with low incomes and non-profit organizations.
- Computers 4 R Kids is a non-profit organization that supplies recycled technology to disadvantaged students, families and schools.
Donate to military charities
- Cell phones for soldiers accepts softly used mobile phones for resale. The profit goes to prepaid calling minutes for soldiers deployed abroad.
- Pickup please is a good option for people who don't have the time to take their stuff to a drop-off center. Pickup Please come and collect your electronics – sometimes within 24 hours! This service is currently offered in 13 states. The electronics are resold and the proceeds go to veterans and their families.
Donate to domestic violence and emergency services
- The national coalition against domestic violence collects unwanted cell phones and electronics (at least three items) and grows them for sale. Part of the proceeds goes to their program to help stop the violence at home.
- Secure the call accepts old mobile phones and reconfigures them to only call 911. They offer these emergency telephones to domestic violence centers, senior citizens' centers and police and sheriff departments.
Donate to children's hospitals
- The Make-A-Wish Foundation accepts new and used computers, game consoles and music players and gives them to hospitalized children to make their stay in the hospital more comfortable.
Donates to a variety of charities
- Computers with causes grows laptops, desktops, servers and other technical equipment to give to schools, foster homes, veterans and other charities.
- National Cristina Foundation is a foundation that indicates what local charities or schools need and then sends your donation directly to them.
- The benevolence takes your working electronics and sells them on for their good cause. If the items are not in good condition, they will safely recycle them in their Reconnect program (a collaboration with Dell).
- Donation city takes your electronic gift and then delivers it to the intended charity. They work together with The Salvation Army, The Hope Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
- eBay Giving Works have your electronics auctioned on eBay and donate the proceeds to an organization of your choice.
- Earth911 is a resource that allows you to search for donation sites in your region and to filter the donation type based on the electronics you have.
2. Let the technical companies recycle it
Another option for recycling electronics is to return them to the company where you purchased the products. Many technical companies and electronic retailers offer recycling programs to make it easier for consumers. Some even offer incentives to recycle your devices with them. For instance, Apple lets you trade in a device for a price reduction for a future one Game stop get your electronics brought in to get cash or credit in the store.
Other technical companies easily provide sites where you can leave your technology or options to send them in for recycling.
Some companies that offer recycling services:
- Best Buy – offers options for storing in the store, online and in the garbage dump.
- valley – offers permanent drop-off sites, mail-in options or trade-in & # 39; s.
- Epson – offers hardware recycling for Epson products.
- PK – provides a secure way to dispose of printer equipment, as well as PCs and mobile devices.
- gate – provides resources for recycling your PC or battery.
- LG – offers recycling places for postal shipments for televisions and mobile devices.
- Samsung – offers email recycling options for mobile devices and delivery sites for PCs and televisions.
- Sony – offers collection stations and delivery locations for PCs, televisions and rechargeable batteries.
- Sprint – offers in-store and mail-in options for repurchase and donations.
- Staples – offers a technical trade-in, free electronics recycling, free rechargeable batteries and a reward program for recycled ink.
- TCL – provides means to recycle or re-use TCL products.
- VIZIO – offers e-mail and delivery locations for PCs and televisions.
- Xerox – offers mail-in, removal, and recycling options for Xerox products.
3. Take it to a Recycler
You may have many devices to get rid of or you may not have access to the options above. If this is the case, you can always find an electronics recycler in your area. There are a few different recycler options such as municipal recycling, private recycling and national program recycling. Checking out this recyclers card to find one close to you that suits you.
What to do before recycling electronics
After you have decided how you want to recycle your device, you must ensure that the information is backed up. Your device may change ownership and you do not want to give others access to your personal and private information. Some organizations may offer the device for you, but to ensure that your data is not leaked, it is best to remove it yourself.
Make a backup of your data
Make sure that all your documents, images and data are backed up on the hard disk or in the cloud. It can be useful to transfer this information to your new device before you completely remove it. This way you can see if everything you need has been saved.
Remove any attachments
This may seem obvious, but it is important that no storage space is connected to your device. This includes DVD drives, card readers, floppy drives and USB ports. These items must be removed before recycling.
If you donate a digital camera, media player, or mobile phone, there may be a memory card or SIM card that contains all your data. It is located near the device's battery and must be removed before it is given away. If the device does not have an external memory card, you must connect it to your computer to remove the internal memory.
Delete your data
After the external memory has been removed, you must delete the internal data. If you reset the device to the factory settings, all information you have saved must be deleted, from your passwords to your photos. There is disk cleaning software that you can get for a computer if you want to be extra careful, but a hard reset will usually do the job. To do this, find your device type below and follow the steps.
Swipe your Android
- Settings → System → Advanced → Reset Options → Delete All Data (Factory Reset)
Wipe your iOS
- Settings → General → Reset → Delete all content and settings
Wipe your Windows computer
- Settings → Update and Protect → Reset → Reset This PC → Getting Started
Note: Choose to delete all personal files when prompted.
Wipe your Chromebook or Chrome tablet
- Settings → Advanced → Powerwash
Wipe your Mac
Macs are a bit harder to wipe. You must start by restarting the device. Once started, hold down Option + Command + R until a rotating globe appears on your screen. Release the keys and then choose the "Reinstall MacOS" option and click "Continue." When prompted, follow the instructions and select your main hard drive to be erased.
Disconnect the device from your online accounts
If you have had your device for a while, you probably connected it to online accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple or Microsoft. To ensure that the new device owner does not have access to these accounts, you must remotely remove the device from the accounts. You can do this in the security and privacy settings of these apps. There will be a section with the text "Where you are logged in" or "Recently used devices" where you can remove devices that have access to the account.
If you follow these tips, your data must be kept safe when recycling electronics. To ensure that your information and identity are protected, check out Panda Security & # 39; s Identity Theft Protection. This program will alert you if your personal information is being viewed or stolen so that you can recycle your devices with the certainty that your information is secure.
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