The iPhone 7 is set to hit shelves next month, which means today’s tech gear is about to become an artifact. But that iPhone (and computer and printer cartridge, for that matter), contain parts that are better off recycled than tossed away, where they can add to overflowing landfills or pollute the water.
“There’s value in old technology,” said Adelphi University Manager of Project Management Kerry Nicolett, who created partnerships with companies and charities to recycle university technology and runs an annual eRecycling Day. “When we take something out of rotation [in Adelphi labs]…it can still function well even if it’s not the latest and greatest.”
Give your tech gear a second, eco-friendly wind using Nicolett’s six tips.
Technology isn’t limited to iPhones, laptops and tablets. “Anything with a power button or battery can be recycled at an e-recycling event.” Remote controls and even electric toothbrushes can be recycled at eRecycling events like Adelphi’s, as can cords. “They all have parts like plastic and copper, which can be broken down, melted and repurposed.”
Drop Before You Shop
Before going on a shopping spree, unload some of the outdated gear lying around at home. “There are a lot of retail stores that will accept that old technology, specifically computer batteries, computers and printers. Staples and Best Buy will take all the equipment off your hands. Lowe’s and Home Depot have battery disposals.” Remember, just because a battery is dead doesn’t mean it’s harmless. “Computer batteries have lithium…just throwing them in the garbage can contaminate the earth.”
Double your impact by donating technology to a charitable cause. Organizations like Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides one-time emergency grants to help returning veterans in need, will let people donate old phones or tablets and use money made from the recycled materials to support their initiatives.
More than 100 million empty ink cartridges end up in landfills each year, about one per second. The chemicals in the ink can leak, which can be harmful to the environment. Instead of tossing that cartridge when the ink gets low, get it refilled at places like Costco or Walgreens. Staples collects them and recycles the materials and AM Exclusive will take cartridges back, remanufacture them and sell them as refurbished cartridges.
Make Some Cash
Reap the rewards of recycling. Phone companies like Verizon will give cash or rebates for trading in old phones, and cords and cables with copper in them can be valuable to manufacturers—and you. A typical household or mixed electronics wire sell for $.35/pound and Romex and other electrical wires for $1.10/pound.
Donating tech gear is great, but be sure to wipe data of phones and computers. “That is highly sensitive material.” Look for a company that does hard drive shredding.