Friday, October 28, 2011

What can I do with old electronics?

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

We're on our fifth set of cell phones and not one of them uses the same charger or batteries. What do I do with my useless pile of electronics?


Buried in Phones

Dear Buried,

Good job not throwing old electronics away. Cell phones have lead and cadmium or lithium in their batteries, posing risks to health and environment if/when they leak into our groundwater. Therefore, the first option for all of your working phones is to extend their lives by donating them to nonprofits that provide them to their recipients (deployed soldiers, abused women, etc.). Next to REDUCING the number of times you replace older phones, REUSING is your greenest option.

RECYCLING is the third best option where, as with other electronics, the plastics, precious metals and toxic materials in them can be reused or disposed of properly. One ton of old cell phones are estimated to contain about 287 pounds of copper, 7.7 pounds of silver and 340 grams of gold. Only computers and their peripherals are recycled at the Ohio Gulch recycling center and more and more computer companies are willing to take back their old computers. For all other electronics—broken cell phones, DVD players, VCRs, radios, printers, TVs, etc.—check with the store where you purchase your electronics and check out for other recycling options.

Keep it Green,


—Elizabeth Jeffrey

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