Today’s connected world relies on various tech devices to make life better and more convenient. Laptops, tablets, TVs, and smartphones are all essential to modern living. But what happens to these devices when they wear out, break down, or get replaced? In some cases, you may be able to trade in your old device for a new one. But when that isn’t a possibility, it’s important to know how to recycle your old electronics precisely. Here are some instructions on how to do it responsibly:
Do some research
Electronic waste is a huge dilemma that gets bigger every day. One United Nations study reported that 53.6 million tons of e-waste were thrown out in 2019, and only 17.4% were disposed of properly.
Make sure you are part of the solution, not adding to the problem, with the following information and advice.
One of the first things to do when you’re ready to get rid of old electronic devices is to find out if you can recycle them locally in Nashville. Many recycling centers and e-waste collection sites around the country will take your old devices and recycle them properly. You can also check with your local municipality to see if they have any special programs or collection days for electronic waste.
If your old devices are still in good working condition, you may consider donating them to a local school or non-profit organization. Many of these organizations can use your old laptops, tablets, and phones. Some of the best-known donation programs available include:
- Dell Reconnect. Dell has partnered with Goodwill to offer a free recycling program for any brand of computer equipment. You can take your used devices to any participating Goodwill location.
- Computers for Classrooms. This national organization provides refurbished computers and other technology to schools and educational programs around the U.S.
- World Computer Exchange. This non-profit ships donated computers to developing countries, where they are used in schools and community centers.
Contact the Manufacturer
In some cases, you may be able to return your old device to the manufacturer. Many manufacturers and even retailers have programs for recycling or disposing of old devices. For example, Apple has a recycling program that will take any Apple device and many non-Apple devices. Other alternatives include:
- Amazon. The heavyweight online retailer has a trade-in program where you can get Amazon gift cards in exchange for your old devices.
- Best Buy. The electronics retailer has a range of recycling options and an e-waste recycling program for many types of electronics.
- Sprint’s Buyback program. This cell phone company will give you credit towards a new phone when you trade in your old one, regardless of who your previous carrier
Prepare your device
The minute that you have found a place to take your electronic devices, it’s important to ensure you wipe your device of all personal data before giving it over. This is particularly important for laptops, computers, and phones.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- For Computers: Use disk-wiping software like DBAN to erase your hard drive. You can download the program for free and burn it to a blank disc. As soon as you have done this, boot your computer from the DBAN disc and follow the instructions.
- For Apple Devices: Sign in to iCloud.com, click on Settings, then select Restore Devices. This will erase all the data on your device and restore it to factory settings.
- For Android Devices: Go to Settings, then System, Advanced, and reset options. Select Erase all data (factory reset).
- For Other Devices: Check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on how to wipe your device clean.
Properly dispose of your old electronics
After you have wiped your device physically clean and removed all personal data, you are ready to properly dispose of your old electronics. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and disconnect all batteries and power cords before recycling. This will help ward off any accidents that could take place during the recycling process.
To reduce and prevent electronic waste in the future, we all must do our part. By recycling our old devices properly, we can help keep harmful toxins and chemicals out of the environment. And by donating or reselling our old devices, we can help others in need while keeping these devices out of the landfill.
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