When decluttering your home for sale, remember that ancient desktop computer has got to go. But where? With new and changing restrictions on electronics recycling and disposal, here are a few ideas about how to responsibly get rid of electronic waste before listing your home.
What’s at stake?
In 2016, 44.7 million tons of electronic waste was created worldwide, according to Consumer Reports, citing data from the United Nations. Yet only 20 percent was disposed of properly, risking the release of toxic chemicals into the environment. About half the states have passed laws governing recycling, requiring consumers to follow specific methods.
Toss…or recycle electronics?
Before throwing devices out, remember those materials can be used again. Recycling means fewer resources are removed from the environment, leading to lower manufacturing emissions. Also, check into whether your device can still function by replacing parts.
Which brands recycle?
A program from the EPA called Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge encourages manufacturers to recycle their own products. Your device’s brand, or even the store where you purchased it, may have drop-off locations available to consumers. The EPA awards those who excel in recycling efforts, so retailers have an incentive to provide this service to you. Notable brands that offer recycling programs include Apple, Sprint, Best Buy, Amazon, Staples, and Office Depot. Some retailers will give you cashback on your next purchase in exchange for old electronics.
Remove all personal data, photos, and other information before disposing of an electronic device. This goes beyond just deleting files. For questions on how to wipe your data, contact an electronics specialist. For information, you’d like to keep, use an external hard drive for storage. Remove all batteries, which likely require a different disposal process.
Where to take it?
Look for nonprofits in your area that collect unwanted electronics. Some organizations recycle the items while others rehab devices to donate to after-school programs or senior centers. Local governments also collect electronics for recycling in some areas of the country.
Related – Upcycling Gives Old Products New Life