It’s human nature to want the latest and greatest with business and consumer electronics technology. When we replace the products that we rely on daily with faster, sleeker models, what happens with the old equipment once it’s no longer needed? Many people simply throw it away as part of the garbage or throw it into storage only to see it again 10 years later. However, there are more responsible alternatives – reuse and recycle.
Garbage is a serious problem in our society. Landfills are becoming overfilled and no one wants to have one in their backyard. Most importantly, electronic devices contain potentially harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury and cadmium which will leach into the surrounding soil and eventually contaminate our drinking water. According to the EPA, 2 million tons of “e-trash” was generated in 2001. In that same year, a study by the National Safety Council found that less than 10% of that “e-trash” was actually recycled.
Instead of just throwing electronics away, take a little bit more time to retire them in a responsible way. By participating in these efforts, we do our part as responsible citizens and technology users. Every little bit helps and the results add up. Here are some options:
- Reuse by donating. Local community church groups, non-profits and arts organizations are some possible groups that can use some extra technology. PCs that many would consider unusable for business are still adequate for general word processing, training, and data entry. However, before donating your old PC make sure that all documents and data are completely removed and the hardware is in working order. Literati technicians can help clean out and spruce up an old computer to be donated. Contact your local United Way office for organizations looking for donations – http://www.teamunitedway.org.
For more information on donating computers and electronics visit http://www.techsoup.org/products/recycle/articlepage.cfm?ArticleId=524.
- Recycle. Monongalia County is becoming a leader in recycling electronics in West Virginia. The Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority holds an annual eCycling event in April to coincide with Earth Day. A small donation is requested for each item for processing. For more information go to http://www.moncoswa.org/. If you don’t want to wait until next April, PC Renewal is a Morgantown business that specializes in technology and electronics recycling. They have many services available and will pick up and haul away your items. PC Renewal follows EPA guidelines to make sure that any toxic substances are handled properly. For more information, go to their website at http://www.wvpcrenewal.com/.
For more information on eCycling visit, EPA eCycling (http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/index.htm).