February 7, 2011 in Features

Do Your Part: Don’t throw out your electronic waste

Terri Bennett, Mcclatchy Newspapers
 

Electronic waste is on the rise in the United States at a startling rate. In fact, it is growing at nearly three times the rate of any other kind of trash.

It is estimated that 85 percent of electronics that can be recycled or donated, aren’t.

Think about it. What really happens to all the cell phones, computer equipment, televisions and other electronic devices we get rid of when they break or we upgrade? Many times, we just throw them out, where they are sent to a landfill.

Electronics contain toxic heavy metal components like lead, cadmium, beryllium and mercury that can pollute the environment, but they also contain valuable metals like gold, silver and copper.

Instead of leaving them in our landfills, do your part to get those metals disposed of safely or recycled back into the next generation of electronics. It’s cost-effective for the manufacturer and the customer, and it’s easy.

Eighty percent of Americans own cell phones and upgrade, on average, every year to a year and a half. There are many ways you can give one of these millions of phones new life.

Many cell phone providers will take back your old models and recycle them for you. AT&T, Verizon, Motorola, and Sprint are some of the companies involved in the wireless recycling network of ReCellular, the world’s leading recycler and reseller of cell phones.

Cell Phones for Soldiers is another organization I love. It provides prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas with every donated cell phone it receives.

March of Dimes, Keep America Beautiful and Call To Protect are other nonprofits that collect cell phones for their missions. We’ve made links to all these resources at DoYourPart.com/Columns.

So go ahead, scour your closets, garage, kitchen drawers, and anywhere else that you stash old electronics that you and your family are no longer using.

Then do your part and make sure they do some good instead of being trashed.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and host of DoYourPart.com, where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet.

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