E-Waste Recycling: Countering The Dark Side of Xmas

Everybody loves getting spanky new gizmos for Christmas, of course, but there’s a dark side of that holiday techno-philia: e-waste. When old, outdated electronics go out with the trash, US landfills get clogged with recyclable materials that leach hazardous metals directly into our groundwater and atmosphere.

This X-mas season, the Consumer Electronics Association is offering a few tips to help consumers and businesses dispose of unwanted electronics safely and effectively. They recommend, 1)  Turning in the Old, noting that most major manufacturers and many retailers have reliable, nationwide recycling programs, including Best Buy, 2) Verifying your Recycler, pointing out that there are several recognized certification programs for e-waste recyclers that utilize safe, market-driven recycling methods, including the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling (ICER), and 3) Paying It Forward in the spirit of holiday giving, as recyclable electronics are often worth cash to worthy organization such as CollectiveGood and Close the Gap, which provides refurbished phones to individuals in developing countries.

image via Pike Research

image via Pike Research

The Consumer Electronics Association also emphasizes the importance of protecting your identity by using a service that can erase your personal information from computers and phones before recyling, as well as purchasing new electronics made from recycled, eco-friendly, and biodegradable materials whenever possible.  The complete list of recommendations is available on the association’s website.

My Green Electronics [via press release]

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.