3 ways to deal with E-waste

As more and more people climb on the technology bandwagon as they discover the joys of being always connected they are also discovering a big downside to technology. It leaves us with a whole bunch of stuff that has to be gotten rid of at some point. Old cell phones, out of date computers and tired old laptops are only some of the e-waste that is collected in ever increasing amounts.

Until CBS's 60 Minutes show last year about the disposal of our electronic toys our handling of e-waste was never really talked about. If you asked most people what they thought happened to their electronic cast-offs they probably would just say they got recycled somehow. That attitude is changing though as we begin to realize that these toys of ours contain some pretty dangerous chemicals that need to be handled with care.

With this increasing interest and concern about how to best deal with our electronic leftovers here are three of the best ways to get rid of them


The one way to deal with the problem is to see if anyone wants to buy your old tech toys. In this regard many companies have sprung up to take them off your hands. Companies like TechForward will let you sign up when you first buy your tech toy and then after a certain period of time will buy it from you for a set price. For those people who are always upgrading as new things come out this is a good way to deal with old electronics but for others who tend to hang on to their equipment there are also companies that will buy it up after verifying it is still in working condition. Usually a quick search will give you a list of these types of companies in your local area.

Taking Back the Junk

This is probably the simplest program but it requires that the stores you deal with have a take-back program. In the majority of cases you won't receive any money in exchange for your old equipment. It does provide you with a painless and easy way to get rid of older electronics. As well many manufacturers are starting to offer take-back programs but in both cases of retail and manufacturer programs you may have to ask about them.

Here's a short list of manufactures with take-back programs

Stores that have take-back programs

Recycling those old electronic goodies

This is probably the one method of getting rid of our old electronics that is the most fraught with problems. While recycling old electronics may seem like the best way to deal with the problem it is also as we saw in the 60 Minutes show the one with the most potential to cause a lot of harm – both to people and the environment.

If you decide to go this route you are best to check with organizations that track electronics recycling companies. Primary of these is e-Stewards which is where you can keep up to date with how e-waste is being dealt with and also find recommendations for ethical recyclers such as Green Citizen.

Unlike the other two options recycling will usually end up costing you a few bucks as many recyclers charge a fee for taking your old electronics off of your hands. However most communities through their garbage pickups will offers a free recycling day specifically for electronics so it is always a good idea to check that out as an option.

[hat tip to Treehugger]