Electronics, more than most household items, have a short shelf life. What was once the latest and greatest technology is now old and obsolete. When electronics reach the end of their useful life, what you do with them then is as important as what you did with them while you owned them. To help you make wise and environmentally conscious decisions, here are some tips on what to do with four types of electronics you don’t want anymore.
Even if you buy a top-of-the-line computer, it will likely be obsolete in just a few years. Before you simply put that computer out with the trash, though, it’s important to understand that computers are filled with dozens of potentially harmful metals and substances. Therefore, to keep it out of the landfill, you can first see if a non-profit organization is willing to repurpose your computer. If that’s not an option, you can recycle your computer so that its components can be reused.
Since televisions are so common, it’s difficult to even give them away when you upgrade to a new model. While you might be able to sell a flat-screen, pretty much any other type of TV will sit at the curb with no takers. Electronics recycling is the best route to take for old televisions, given the harmful substances in the screen and picture tube. If you have a really old television that is built into a console, you may be able to repurpose the console to create a retro piece of furniture.
CDs are one of the most common types of electronic waste. Though they aren’t themselves electronic, they can still harm the environment since they’re made of plastic. Your first stop should be a store that buys CDs to see if they’re interested in any of your unwanted tunes. You can also create unique art with the CDs given their mesmerizing colors on the data side. If you’re not the creative type, many retail stores offer collection bins for CDs and other simple electronics to ensure they’re properly recycled.
Even if you held out for a long time, it’s likely that you now carry around a cell phone, at least for emergencies. When you’re ready to upgrade to the latest model, you can try to sell your old phone yourself or through a third-party. High-end phones, even those that are broken, tend to retain some value because their individual components have inherent worth. You may also be able to donate your phone to a non-profit organization that can repurpose them to be used by those in need.
When you’re done with a certain electronic item, it’s important to think carefully through your next steps. Obviously, the easiest course of action is to simply throw away the item so that you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Keep in mind, though, that most of the components in modern electronics will stick around in landfills for thousands of years, leaching harmful chemicals into the water and soil the entire time. By thinking through your options, you will help to protect the environment for generations to come.