Recycling Electronics

Technology grows at a quick rate, you buy a computer and next month there is a better product out that is faster, has more memory and makes your new purchase look already old. In a couple of years, you may even consider buying an updated version of your electronic equipment because you find yours is obsolete. Of course, that also depends on the type of field you are in…I know my parents still have their computer from 16 years ago that they just decided to get rid of but my husband who works in the IT industry always seems to want to update this and that…(never ending!)

Due to the developed countries, e-waste has been one of the biggest contributors to landfill and it’s only going to get worse as we rapidly replace such things as old cell phones, computers, iPods, or cameras.

What to do with all of your old stuff? I even asked myself that (I just bought a new computer…and I needed to recycle the old one).

If you are in the San Francisco or Silicon Valley, you can recycle your electronics by dropping them off with Green Citizen or you can schedule a business pickup if you are within the Bay Area. They accept pretty much everything and if you want you can even use their classified section to sell or donate your old electronics.

Also, any U.S. Staples store will accept electronic equipment to recycle (regardless if it was bought at Staples) for a fee of $10 per large item.

You can also check on Earth911’s site to find a local facility near you. Your search will pull up a list of facilities, including a phone number, materials accepted and location.

It’s important for us to find alternative ways to disposing our electronic equipment, especially since they contain harmful toxins that can potentially contaminate our water, air and land if released into our environment.

Here are some facts (sourced from Green Citizen):

1) A single computer or television monitor contains an average of 4-8 pounds of lead. Monitor glass contains about 20% lead by weight and when the glass is crushed in a landfill, the lead leaches into the soil.

2) Just 1/70 of teaspoon of mercury is enough to contaminate 20 acres of a lake. If this happened, you can’t eat the fish.

3) In the US, municipal incineration of e-waste is the largest source of cancer-producing dioxin and one of the largest sources of heavy metal contaminations in the atmosphere.

It’s time to find alternative ways of getting rid of our electronic equipment!

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