How to Reduce Electronic Waste in 5 Easy Steps

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Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone
Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. Image credit: Leszek Kobusinski / Bigstock.com.

With climate change still lingering at the back of most people’s minds, it’s time for us to bring green energy methods to the forefront. Statistics show that while America is one of the fastest growing countries on the planet, it also tops the charts for the most electronic waste in the world. A 2012 study found that the United States generated upwards of 3.4 million tons of electronic waste, which also accounted for 70% of overall toxic waste sitting in landfills.

With the quickening pace of technological advances in the modern age, it has become almost second nature to dispose of old electronics when new models hit the market. Unfortunately our fast technology habits negatively affect our environment.

If everyone made more of a green effort to ditch their old gadgets, electronic waste would be dramatically reduced and our landfills would become exponentially less deadly. Wondering how you can help? These 5 steps will minimize your e-waste and maximize safe recycling practices.

5. Repurpose your old smartphones

It seems as if there is a new smartphone model released every month from one company or another. Since we are only human and endlessly fascinated by technological advances, we find ourselves in constant need of upgrades.

However, our outdated electronics often fall below the wayside and quickly become e-waste. Instead of chucking your aged iPhone 4 in the trash, find another use for it! Old smartphones can be easily converted into a universal remote control, GPS device, home automation controller, or a music player. Keep it by the sofa or in your car for easy access and comprehensive handling.

4. Donate or pass down old phones and computers

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and whether you believe it or not, that saying still rings true with technology. Younger siblings or family members are the perfect recipients for dated devices. Well-loved smartphones make for excellent first phones. Younger kids will appreciate using a smartphone as a gaming device.

Ask around before deciding something is a piece of junk! If you end up with no takers on your old devices, consider donating them to a thrift store or donation center. Thrift shoppers and bargain hunters will have a hard time turning down a 3 year old phone, especially if their budget is too tight to afford the latest technology. Give to more grateful hands before sending your gadgets to the graveyard.

3. Recycle old batteries

Did you know that recycling isn’t just for paper and plastic goods? Small and insignificant as batteries may seem, when they sit in a landfill for too long they can leak toxic metals into the soil, which eventually seep into our water supply.

There are a number of electronic recycling centers that will happily take your old device batteries and turn them into new technology. Make sure you know your state’s laws about battery disposal before seeking disposal solutions. Next time you purchase batteries, consider buying rechargeable batteries for a long lasting charge!

2. Sell your old electronics

Checking to see what your old electronics are worth is easily done on selling sites like eBay and Gazelle. Whether you’re looking to sell online or to sell to a used electronics store, trading well-loved devices in for cash can put some money in your wallet toward your new device’s cost.

In the end, it’s a win-win for both parties, and your device is kept out of harmful landfills. Brands like Apple and Samsung even offer options for customers to recycle old electronics with the occasional financial compensation! Don’t be surprised when your sellback price is astonishingly lower than your original buy price. Just remember you’re doing the world some good!

1. Consume Less

We can all admit to being caught up in the latest trends and the hottest new products on the market, and convince ourselves that if we’re not on the cutting edge of technology, we’re behind. In this digital age, it is commonplace to consume at an extreme rate. Instead of throwing your paychecks at the latest iPhone, consider your current tech. Is your phone still fast and functioning?

Is your TV operating correctly? Is your laptop currently up to date and running? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to reconsider if you really need to go out and create more e-waste in the world. With more careful consideration and proper disposal, just one person’s actions can dramatically change the world— why not start today?