Going green is the politically correct, planet saving, proper and valued thing to do these days. As a productivity and organization expert I often work with clients who are organizing offices and homes for maximum productivity and who want to recycle unwanted items.
The biggest challenge, as our technology moves forward to quickly, we face the ongoing and growing recycling challenge: electronic equipment or e-waste.
Scary Statistics on E-Waste
Here are some scary statistics about e-waste, particularly since they are a few years old and we know the electronics world is growing wildly:
“About 2.6 million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills in 2007, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while only 13.6% (408,000 tons) was recycled. If Americans recycled the more than 100 million cell phones that are no longer used, the amount of energy saved would be enough to power approximately 24,000 U.S. households for one year.”
E-waste is basically anything that plugs in or runs on batteries. According to Earth911 e-waste is actually growing at a rate 3 times the rate of other household waste materials.
Do YOU Have E-Waste Hiding in Your Garage?
Enough said. We organizers encourage you to rid yourself of unwanted or unusable items, but it’s also our responsibility to help you figure the best option for these “things.” So I’m sharing with you some info to help you on this long green road as you build a productive e-office or e-home that results in e-waste.
If you’re like most people, your last three computer screens are sitting in your garage. Not to mention the towers, the old toasters, out of date radios, the old CD player or DVD (maybe even VHS?) players and other out of date or unusable electronic equipment. Or maybe you have just (don’t feel bad, we’ve all been there) tossed it in the regular trash with hopes of not being found out. After all, you are a good green recycler of glass and plastic, right?
E-Waste Alternatives and Resources When You Re-Organize
In our wild world of e-phones, e-marketing, e-samples, e-games, e-computers, and e-everything recycling takes a different form – it’s time to go e-green! It's not as hard as you might think. Going e-green when it comes to e-waste gives you the benefit of doing the right thing, cleaning out those unused electronics in your home, office and garage and giving a happy hug to our only home.
After a little research online (where else?) the Environmental Protection Agency has the ultimate site for you to check out when it comes to recycling those used, unwanted, or no longer functioning electronics. It's full of information, too, including how e-waste is really a resource due to all of the recyling materials that compose electronics.
This excellent EPA site offers so many alternatives including local, brand name, and on line receivers of your unwanted electronics.
Much of the e-waste you turn in gets recycled for some other use. For example, the EPA also reports that “for every million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.” Keep this site handy so when your next e-game bites the dust, you are ready to send it down the correct green brick road…
Here are a few more recycling sites you might find helpful for e-waste options.
Simple Steps shows you more about where waste goes, the certifications to watch for, and thinking through what you do with your electronics.
Recycle Now is a great general site about recycling, including electronics and it's helpful for teaching your children the basics.
Greener Gadgets has a whole section listing retailers and other organizations that provide credits, gift cards or even cash for some used electronic equipment.
Call2Recycle helps you find places near you for recyling rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
You can donate your gently used cell phones for use by US soldiers by going to Cell Phones For Soldiers.
If you have some e-waste or e-resource sites to share, let us know!