You might have heard the term e-waste and questioned what it meant. CalRecycle, a government agency based in California, writes that “E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their useful life.”
You might have an iPhone 4 lying in a drawer or an iMac G3 and no longer have use for it. While your first inclination might be to toss the phone or the desktop computer in the trash, there are multiple reasons not to.
Apple products as well as all other electronics contain precious metals. These metals can be retrieved from the old device, melted down, and used again in next generation devices. Recycling precious metals such as copper, silver, and gold will indirectly reduce your carbon footprint. Recycling just one iPhone 4 will preserve 20 lbs of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere alone. This reduces the effect greenhouse gasses have on our climate and helps keep our air clean.
E-waste is hazardous to the environment as well as the health of the public. That iPhone 4, along with most electronic devices, contain lead which is toxic to animals and humans alike. When the device is tossed into the landfill, lead from the device will eventually seep into the ground and find its way into our water supply. The Silicon Valley Toxic Corporation states that when lead is consumed by humans it damages the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood, and the kidneys.
We now know why it is important to reduce e-waste but you might be wondering how it’s done.
How Can I Minimize the Harmful Impact of E-Waste?
There are three main ways to reduce e-waste.
- Sell Your Old Electronics
- Fans of Apple know that iMacs, iPhones and all Apple electronics hold their value long after they are purchased. The demand for used Apple electronics is high and we can only expect it to increase over time. Selling your iDevice can rake in more money than you would probably anticipate. Even broken iDevices are worth selling.
- Selling your old device on eBay will make you the most money. eBay can be daunting for some people as the process takes time plenty of time, knowledge, and effort. If eBay seems intimidating, websites like Gazelle will purchase your old device and even pay for the postage. While Gazelle won’t pay as much money as eBay, Gazelle’s process is simpler and more convenient for most people.
- Craigslist is also a great resource for selling your old device locally for fast cash.
- Recycle Your Old Electronics
- Apple has its very own recycling program. The method is simple: first, tell them basic information about your device. Then, through external partners, Apple will determine how much your product is worth. Their partners will provide prepaid options to package and ship your product to them. If the device has no resale value they will recycle it responsibly at no cost to you. If the device can be resold, you will receive an Apple Store gift card that can be used online or in store.
- Most cities have their very own e-waste recycling centers. To find your facility, Google search “electronics recycling near me.”
- Donate Your Old Electronics
- Keep in mind the classic idiom “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Donating your previous generation Apple devices to people in need is a great way to protect the environment while doing a charitable act for your community.
Throwing away electronic devices is now a thing of the past. Help protect the environment and keep your community healthy by selling, recycling, or donating your old electronics.