How to Dispose Smartphones (And Other Electronics) the Smart Way - Leaf'd

How to Dispose Smartphones (And Other Electronics) the Smart Way

by Sofia Russi

How many smartphones do each of us go through in a lifetime? 2017 marks the 10th anniversary from the launch of the very first iPhone, and the number of smartphones manufactured by tech giants ever since then is estimated to be around 7 billion. In other words, there are virtually enough smartphones out there to provide more than 90% of the world’s population with fast and reliable communication tools. In fact, there is only a small percentage of people who can afford to buy and keep up to date with quickly evolving technologies, while outdated devices often end up collecting dust in a basement.

“the number of smartphones manufactured by tech giants ever since [2007] is estimated to be around 7 billion.”

In 2014, the US alone produced 11.4 million tons of e-waste, according to data released by the EPA. Other than just outdated phones and computers, the term e-waste includes all electronics such as televisions, DVD players, video game consoles, printers, scanners and so on – all gear that quickly falls into disuse as more advanced models are released. Electronics that end up in landfills release polluting chemicals into the ground, which can result in contamination of water streams and eventually the food chain. Let’s face it: it’s time to start thinking about the consequences of our tech consumption.

Fortunately, there are many ways to dispose of your outdated devices in a sustainable way:

DONATE

Don’t let old electronics pile up in your basement! It’s likely that your local charity will accept your discarded items. Donated gear such as mobile phones, laptops and DVD players, constitutes powerful education tools that can be redistributed through community projects to those who need it the most. While many charities will only accept items in working condition, others will be happy to help you get rid of those devices that won’t turn on.

Paying a visit to your nearest charity is the best way to act locally, but if you can’t find the time to drop off the items, many nonprofits will pick them up at your doorstep. Remember to erase all sensitive and personal information from all devices before you donate them.

“Remember to erase all sensitive and personal information from all devices before you donate them.”

If you wish to donate old laptops or other computer equipment locally, DonationTown will put you in touch with your nearest charity to schedule a pick-up collection. Depending on your items, DonationTown will help you find the perfect receiver. 

Find out how HERE.

 

RECONNECT

Reconnect is a partnership between Goodwill Industries and Dell that promotes the recovery, reuse and recycling of electronics in +2,000 sites across North America. All donations will support Goodwill’s efforts to help people with disadvantages and disabilities by providing education, training and career services. Since 2004, RECONNECT has recycled about half a billion pounds of unused electronics.

Find out how HERE.

WORLD COMPUTER EXCHANGE

World Computer Exchange works to reduce the digital divide for youth in developing countries, while promoting the reuse of electronics and their disposal in a sustainable way. World Computer Exchange is great for companies that are looking to donate a large number of items which can either be dropped off in one of the partner centers, or collected through scheduled pick up. Note that this nonprofit only accepts working gear. A detailed list of accepted items is available on their website.

Find out how HERE.

RECYCLE

Like most tools that we use in our everyday lives, electronics are largely made of three  fundamental components: plastic, metal and glass – which means technologies too, to some extent, can be recycled. However, disposing of old tech is not the same as separating your trash. Don’t just dump it in the bin!

CalRecycle is a great tool provided by the government of California that helps you find the certified electronic recycling center that is closest to your home or office. While most facilities will collect your items free of charge, we recommend that you inquire about potential charges before loading your car.

Find out how HERE.

“Disposing of old tech is not the same as separating your trash. Don’t just dump it in the bin!”

REDUCE

Most of us rely on technology for our everyday lives and jobs. While companies are putting more and more advanced products on the market, the best way to tackle the problem of e-waste at its root is to minimize our consumption. Donating and recycling are great ways to give your outdated tech a second life, but it’s above all fundamental to make the most out of each item that we own. Repairing instead of replacing when possible, and choosing to buy second hand are the smartest choices for the planet and your wallet, too.

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