Most of us have a drawer or cabinet full of our old devices. At the pace at which technology is moving, new technology becomes obsolete almost as soon as it comes out. In 2017 alone, estimates suggest more than 1.5 billion new cellphones were bought by consumers. This is undoubtedly a hooray moment for cellphone manufacturers, but there’s also another side to consider.
With 1.5 billion new cell phones sold last year, what happened to the old ones? This is something that is often overlooked by people unless someone brings it to their attention. I myself was unaware of the environmental hazards until I caught a documentary on my Cox TV service. What I learned was appalling.
Discarded Gadgets and the Environment
The world’s fastest-growing waste problem is discarded electronics. This includes old laptops, phones, tablets, TVs and all other gadgets that we tend to discard after a few years. In fact, according to researchers from the United Nations, the problem is critical and should be tackled immediately. Electronic junk or e-waste has risen by an alarming 8% in the last two years alone.
Only 20% of this e-waste ends up getting recycled. By the end of this year, e-waste is projected to hit around fifty million tons! This is especially alarming when you consider the toxic components like lead, cadmium, and mercury that make up electronics. The only solution at this point is recycling. Here are four unique ways you can do your part for the environment and recycle your old electronics:
1. Manufacturer Recycling Programs
Many manufacturers of electronic products are offering recycling programs that offer to take in your old devices and recycle them. In return, you get some incentives like store credit for working devices. Apple GiveBack is a good example of manufacturer recycling programs. This trade-in service accepts smartphones, computers, smartwatches, tablets, and gadgets from any manufacturer. In return, Apple offers store credit for working devices while recycling broken devices for free.
Samsung Recycle is another similar initiative that accepts smartphones from any manufacturer. Again, you get monetary benefits for working devices while broken devices are recycled anyway. Sony Global is an initiative that’s working on eliminating the environmental footprint completely by 2050. It takes in used products free of charge around the globe and recycles them. Similarly, Huawei has centers all over the world to dispose of your e-waste.
2. Donate Old Gadgets
There are many charitable and non-profit organizations that will take your old gadgets, whether working or not. These electronics are then sold to raise money, refurbished and donated to the needy or sent to recycling centers. Not only do you reduce the e-waste in the world, but you also help people in need.
Computers for Charity (CFC) is a reputable charity established in 1992 that does just this. It takes in working computer systems from across the world, refurbishes them, and donates them to schools in Africa. Cell Phones for Soldiers trades in your donated cell phones for calling cards and communication devices for serving soldiers. It helps give soldiers a cost-free way to get in touch with their loved ones from their active stations.
3. Non-manufacturer Recycling Programs
Many organizations or local communities are working towards providing collection points or recycling centers for old devices. The US EPA website is a great example. The Environmental Protection Agency offers good resources for anyone looking to recycle old devices.
It offers reasons to recycle, what steps to take before recycling, and where to drop off your gadget for recycling. EcoATM is another new initiative you can look into. There are automated ATM kiosks that take your old gadget and offer you cash in return. These gadgets are then professionally and safely recycled.
4. Sell or Trade-in Old Gadgets
There are some programs in America that offer cash or replacements for your old, unwanted electronics. This helps you ensure you make a little money or, in some cases, even a tidy profit. One such organization is Gazelle. Gazelle is a marketplace for old electronic devices and pays you for devices that you no longer need.
It also helps find new owners for those gadgets, ensuring there is little to no waste. Glyde is another similar option, offering a platform to buy and sell old devices. It also offers price comparisons from different sites. There’s also the Amazon Trade-in Program that offers Amazon gift cards in return for eligible devices, DVDs, and even books.
Whichever way you choose, you should do it for the environment. Remember, our environmental footprint can potentially save or ruin this planet. So, it’s important to do your part and raise awareness about the impact of e-waste. In fact, when I dialed Cox customer service phone number, the customer representatives would be happy if you share information about any new programs.
Fun fact: TDS and other corporations are committed to recycling e-waste. In fact, TDS has a waste recycling event every year that employees participate in, processing tons of waste material. Support corporations and charities working towards a greener, cleaner future.