Recycling is not just for cans,
newspapers and glass bottles anymore. There's a rising tide of obsolete computers,
cell phones and other electronic gadgets overflowing landfills. Unworn clothing
and unused appliances clog up closets and cupboards, creating even more waste.
What can you do as a concerned citizen of Planet Earth?
Start by purchasing durable, long-lasting goods.
For instance, avoid buying paper napkins or disposable diapers. Buy cloth ones.
Similarly, when you buy electronic gear, buy something that
you'll grow into -- not something you'll grow out of in a short time. When
shopping for appliances, choose quality over a cheaper piece of merchandise that
will have to be replaced in a short time.Reuse items by
repairing them, donating them to charity or selling them.Find
ways to recycle goods once they can no longer be used. You may be accustomed to
taking your old aluminum cans to your town's recycling bins, but what do you do
with your obsolete PC? Look into computer manufacturers' recycling programs to
dispose of it, in an environmentally safe manner, rather than adding to the heavy
metal and toxic waste of your local landfill.
Below are some
tips on how to find a new home for your discarded gear. Not only will it free
up space in your home, you can sometimes earn some extra cash by selling unwanted
items. Or you can donate
them to a charity -- and gain a tax deduction at the same time.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is defined as unwanted or discarded
computers, monitors, televisions, faxes, cell phones and other home electronics.
It's a growing problem. Consumers are throwing out an average of 130 million cells
phone a year, according to the National Safety Council.
to statistics found on eBay's Rethink
Project Web site, in the three years ending in 2006, some 400 million computers
will be replaced worldwide. Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of all computers ever
sold haven't been disposed of at all; they are stockpiled in our closets, garages,
offices and warehouses, a potential future threat to the environment.
regions and states offer eCycling programs or have rules about the disposal of
obsolete electronic gear. To find out about your area's requirements, visit the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's site at epa.gov/ecycling/live.htm.
Each state lists guidelines for e-waste disposal, as well as information about
regional collection events or electronic recyclers.
makers offer solutions
When you're in the market for a new computer,
check with the manufacturer of the computer that you are replacing to see if they
have any programs in place for recycling.
do sponsor such programs. Apple, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM offer
recycling, leasing or trade-in programs for used PCs. Apple even has a trade-in
program for iPods. Epson has a recycling program for its used computer hardware,
including printers, scanners and projectors.
programs, you get a discount on a new computer when you bring in your old one.
For example, Gateway's rebate program gives money back to people who trade in
their computer when buying a Gateway. On the other hand, recycling programs --
where the manufacturer is disposing of your old PC in an environmentally correct
manner -- will cost you. IBM, for example, charges about $30, includ