Green Cities

Save Your Old Devices from Collecting Dust

When upgrading your electronics—from cellphones to iPods— selling them back to your retailer could save you hundreds on your new device. And who doesn’t like “free” money?

Devices can be sent through mail—or you can take them into the store yourself. Many retailers offer gift cards or store discount that you can then use towards your new device. Trading in last year’s products also helps reduce e-waste by keeping toxic chemicals from being released.

Many of the most popular retailers offer recycling programs approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Improper disposal and recycling techniques can cause the chemicals used to create the electronics to release lead, cadmium, and chromium—all harmful to humans. These chemicals pollute the soil and water, leading to serious health risks for us at the top of the food chain—not to mention all the other creates that share our planet.

What is done with your old electronics?

Depends on the condition. A phone in good working condition is spruced up and returned to service to be reused. If you dropped your phone one too many times (can’t say I’m not guilty of that) then the phone is refurbished and returned to service. The unlucky among us who are forced to upgrade our phones—whether it be a water drenched phone that refused to turn on or an unfortunate drop from a back pocket—see them recycled and sent to a processing facility to recover reusable material.

Did you know?

1.  For every million cell phones we recycle, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

2.  Recycling your phones reduce extraction of raw metals from the earth.

3.  Recycled plastics can be turned into new devices or garden furniture, license plate frames, containers, and replacement automotive parts.

4.  Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 US homes in a year.

Jackson Fang & Kegan Gerald, Interns