Maybe you’ve decided to get a new TV, replace old smoke detectors or get rid of toys your kids have outgrown. But dumping them in the trash is a bad idea: most electronics contain hazardous materials that shouldn’t go into landfills. If you recycle or donate them instead, you help conserve natural resources and help avoid pollution.
Recycle. Many companies that make or sell electronics have programs to recycle products and components. Some have drop-off locations; others offer free mailing labels to return old products. Check their websites or call their toll-free numbers for more information.
Your community may have an e-cycling program, too, that takes many items with an electrical cord or batteries. Check with your county or local government, including the local landfill office, for regulations.
Donate. Many charities make use of slightly outdated but still-functioning gadgets. Make sure to include any accessories, especially those needed for the device to work.
Before you recycle or donate your old electronics, remember to delete any personal information you stored on the device.
- By Colleen Tressler, a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission.