Did you exchange new electronics over the holidays in your family? Is Dad proudly sporting a new Apple Watch? Do you need to drag the kids away from their new gaming console? Congrats on the successful gift-giving! But, now comes the question of what to do with all the phones, laptops, monitors, games, and more — maybe even an old iPod Shuffle or two — collecting around your house. Electronic recycling is your best path forward.
You may already declutter your house, try to minimize environmental impact, and ensure your gadgets get a new lease on life. When you do those things everyone wins, especially the earth. Moreover, something else you can add to your list is getting rid of unwanted electronics.
Did you know that FSA Consulting will haul away previously used and now unneeded electronic equipment for their clients when they upgrade their computers and IT systems? If you are looking for where to take items from your home, go to Earth911, enter your zip code and the item you want to recycle, to find the nearest place to drop it off.
Can someone else use it instead of recycling it?
Surprisingly, there are a number of great ways to reuse old devices in your own home. Repurpose your former phone as an alarm clock, security camera, or remote for your smart tv and streaming devices. An old tablet can become a digital picture frame, dedicated for video calls, or mounted on the wall as the family digital calendar.
If you don’t want to reuse your devices, a number of organizations can use your old items or sell them for funds to further their missions.
- You can donate your old computer or laptop to Computer Reach, an organization committed to bringing Internet access and digital literacy training to Wilkinsburg residents. They refurbish equipment and sell them at affordable prices. Additionally, they accept donations of flat-panel monitors, keyboards, mice, networking devices, computer bags, computer wires, and computer speakers.
- Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania accepts computer donations through a partnership with Dell Reconnect. Dell breaks down the computer into components and recycles them. Proceeds are donated back to Goodwill.
- Your old cell phone can literally be a lifeline to someone dealing with domestic violence. Women’s Center and Shelter (WC&S) sends donated phones to the Shelter Alliance Program. From there, they recycle your phone and send a monetary donation back to WC&S benefitting their domestic abuse programs.
How do I prepare my old devices?
First, you will want to back up your data to your new device or cloud storage. Also, restore the device to factory settings and remove any sim cards.
If possible, remove and recycle the battery separately.
Why can’t I just throw it in the trash?
A typical smartphone contains glass, plastic, copper, gold, lead, and silver among other resources. By being smart about what you do with your old electronics, you can reduce the amount of energy and raw material needed to produce these items. Besides, they won’t take up valuable space in landfills.
Electronic devices are also full of hazardous chemicals that can be harmful to humans and the environment. Chemicals can leach out and enter local water systems, further polluting the environment. In addition, batteries specifically contain dangerous chemicals that can burst into flames and are potentially flammable.
When you drop off your devices at an electronics recycler they will be broken down into a few main components. The base metals can be used by a scrapyard. Circuit boards can be stripped down and refined for precious metals.
Considering upgrading your office technology such as your phone system or computers? Consult with FSA Consulting to discuss your business’ office technology needs. And remember, we are kind to the earth and properly recycle your unwanted electronics.
Some additional resources:
- EPA Electronics Donation and Recycling | United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Secret Life of a Smart Phone (Infographics) | EPA
- Recycle, donate, sell, return: What to do with your old tech gadgets | Cool Mom Tech