A few ways to say good-bye to your broken and obsolete items
What happens to your old computers and electronics when the next evolutionary step is introduced to the market? Sadly, many items end up in landfills or destroyed in outside incinerators. Even worse, others are shipped off to Asia. The truth is, only a fraction of computers and electronics are actually recycled properly (and that’s partially because the industry is still working on the best ways to economically break down these products).
Perhaps the oddest statistic from the EPA reveals that we are, in fact, mostly hoarding our obsolete items. They estimate that three-quarters of all computers sold in the US end up stuck in a basement or closet corner or some other home storage location.
Maybe now’s the time to get some momentum going for spring cleaning with these ideas for recycling your stuff:
- The easiest option is to have someone come cart away your old equipment for you. With a little effort you might find that someone actually wants your functional, but no longer cutting edge, items. Trying a Google search on “donate computer Los Angeles” or “donate cellphone Los Angeles” will produce non-profits that are interested in repurposing your stuff for good causes and give you a receipt for your donation which might be helpful at tax time. Another option is to offer the equipment for free on Craigslist. Generally, a “free” item of any sort will get multiple takers on Craigslist who will be happy to come collect your hand-me-downs (just don’t let any strangers in your house). Be sure to erase any of your data from the computer or cellphone before passing it on.
- The second option is to make money. There are businesses who want to buy and then resell your cellphone. Then there’s eBay, of course. A search for a make and model number will give you the going price. It may not be worth the bother, but it only takes a few seconds to find out.
- Finally, you can take advantage of City and County recycling services. A Google search on “e-waste recycling Los Angeles” will lead you to local government websites that list drop off points and hours of operation. Why all this concern about recycling computers and electronics? Our high-tech gadgets are made using a mixture of valuable (silver, gold, platinum) and hazardous (including lead, cadmium, mercury, beryllium) materials. This makes them both a danger and, literally, a waste of precious materials when they are improperly discarded.
Next time you upgrade, please also take the final step to find a new home for your rejects.