5 ways you can combat e-waste

March 2, 2011 - 0:0

There's no denying that one of the most amazing aspects of living in the 21st century is the efficiency and convenience brought about by a range of electronic gadgets that surround our lives. Whether we like it or not, the constant connectivity and information overload that comes along with it is here to stay. Unfortunately for our planet, so are all the outdated gadgets that we enthusiastically discard, once shinier new versions come around.

Here are some quick tips on how you can responsibly take care of your e-waste:
1. Donate: While that old computer may seem like a worthless piece of junk to you, there are plenty of charitable organizations that are looking to repair, upgrade and pass on refurbished computers to those who need it.
2. Re-purpose: Admit it, you waste way too much time staring at your smart phone or laptop anyway. Why not get creative and geek out a bit by re-purposing your old electronic equipment into something cool? This article has some amazing ideas; you can turn your old iPod into a portable hard drive, your old computer into a jukebox and almost any electronic equipment into art.
3. Recycle: Find a recycler that is part of the network, because they are required to follow higher standards and don’t export your old equipment to developing countries. Further, many will also reuse and refurbish your equipment.
4. Take it back: Many electronics manufactures and retailers have established voluntary take-back programs. Some states (like New York) have even passed laws that will require manufacturers to collect and recycle or reuse unwanted electronics.
The EPA website has a comprehensive list of manufacturers and retailers that offer such programs. However, not all of these programs use e-Stewards certified vendors and some may still be exporting your old equipment to developing countries. For more information, check The Electronics TakeBack Coalition’s website, which also offers a lot more information on what you can do to tackle the e-waste problem.
5. Don’t upgrade! We’ve saved the best for last. Of course, the best way to combat e-waste is to not create it in the first place. You should resist the urge to upgrade and replace your iPhone, Blackberry or other favorite gadgets every time an electronics manufacturer announces the latest and greatest version. Don’t fall into their marketing trap; you know you’re better than that! By using your electronics till they actually die out, you will not only save yourself a lot of money, but will also save our planet from being destroyed by e-waste.
(Source: onegreenplanet)