Don’t Throw That Old Phone: How to Get Rid of Unwanted Electronics
ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – If you have a bunch of electronics in your house, it’s common to want to throw them in the trash. But it’s the last thing you should do.
Electronic waste contains many hazardous elements that can harm humans and animals, according to Scott Schaffer, chief information security officer at Blade Technologies.
Batteries are of great concern because they contain many different chemicals and can catch fire under certain conditions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electronics are also made of precious materials that “require energy to be mined and manufactured.”
“Donating or recycling consumer electronics preserves our natural resources and prevents air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacture of virgin materials,” said said the federal agency.
According to the EPA, recycling 1 million laptops is equivalent to saving the amount of electricity used by more than 3,500 American homes in a year. And for every million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered, the EPA said.
Those wishing to recycle an electronic device should take it to a local e-waste recycler or check if nearby electronics retailers accept old devices for recycling. The EPA also offers information about electronic donation and recycling on its website.
If you don’t want to recycle your device for some reason, it can be reused as well. An old smartphone, for example, can be used as an alarm clock, security camera, or remote control for a smart TV. And an old tablet can be used as a digital photo frame or as a video call station.
Sometimes just upgrading your computer or laptop’s hardware or software can extend its lifespan and usefulness, temporarily eliminating the need for a new one.
Schaffer also suggested a number of apps that can help users find a new purpose for their old devices.
- AlfredCamera: use for cross-platform security cameras
- Lots of things: good for reusing iOS tablets as security cameras
- Presence video security camera: good for using devices for security cameras
- Alarm clock for me: cross-platform app to turn your device into a dedicated alarm clock
- Apple Photos app or Google Photos app: will let you turn your device into a dedicated smart photo frame