10 May 2009

Recycling Electronics Is Getting Easier

In my March 30, 2008 blog post, I discussed the issues and methods of recycling electronics.

As more retail stores, equipment manufacturers, and local governments open or expand their recycling programs, it is getting easier for consumers to recycle computers, televisions, media players and cell phones.

In the June 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, they answer the question "Why recycle?" by explaining,
"The cathode-ray tube in old-style TVs and computer monitors contains 4 to 8 pounds of lead, a neurotoxin. Cell phones and other electronic gadgets can contain mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and brominated flame retardants. Those toxins can leach from landfills into groundwater."

Read the full article.

We had an old 19" standard-definition, non-HD-ready CRT television that we no longer needed and could not find a friend or neighbor who wanted it. The TV worked fine, but even selling it on Craigslist was more problem than it was worth. We decided to recycle it. Houston has recycling centers that accept glass, electronics, motor oil, and paints. We went to the closest center and dropped off the television with the workers. We explained it was a functional television, so in case they or someone else wanted it, they were welcome to have it.

If you have an old cell phone, check with your local women's shelters or other charities to see if they accept cell phones for their clients. (Some cell phone or office supply stores collect cell phones for this purpose.)

Even scratched or defective CDs can have a new life as the face of a clock, or as reflective hangers to scare birds away from your fruit trees.

If you are recycling a computer that still has its hard drive, be sure to not only delete everything on the computer, but also to reformat the drive. If you can remove and (safely) damage or magnetize the drive, you can prevent anyone from finding sensitive information you may have had on the computer when you were using it.

Recycling keeps dangerous chemicals out of our soil, our water, and our bodies.