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Disposal tips for e-waste

This post originally appeared on the JustGreen Community website.

It hides in your closet. It’s old and dusty. It nearly caught fire and then completely broke the night your big report was due. It haunts you, yet you can’t get rid of it. It’s your broken printer.

What to do with it? Along with two old flip phones, a second-generation iPod and a video camera that still uses actual cassette tapes, your old printer is part of the undead of electronics. They have no further use, but you just can’t seem to find an appropriate graveyard for them.

As new technology is produced by the minute and we consume more and more of it, that pile of twisted cords, broken keyboards and 15-pound computer monitors gets bigger and bigger. Afraid you might end up on the gadgets edition of “Hoarders”? Fear not. There are plenty of recycling programs for your old electronics or e-waste (old electronics nearing the end of their “useful” life) that will allow you to dispose of everything safely, responsibly and legally (many states have laws regulating e-waste disposal). And by recycling these products, you will conserve natural resources, reduce air and water pollution and lessen green house gas emissions.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many manufacturers and retailers have electronic recycling programs. It’s also a good idea to check with your municipal waste management and recycling department to see what your local options are, or check out to see exactly what you can donate and where, given your neighborhood and address.

You can also donate your e-waste (click here to find out where you can donate your old electronics) and have equipment refurbished for schools, nonprofits and low-income families. Through the 21st Century Classrooms Act, businesses are encouraged to donate old computers to schools for a tax break. The Salvation Army and Goodwill will accept some old electronics and appliances.

So whether you’re getting rid of e-waste or composting in your backyard, you can find all kinds of recycling information and ideas on this blog and the JustGreen website. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.


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