Today’s junk drawers are stuffed with last year’s smartphones and tablets along with webs of tangled cords. But there’s a dark side to storing electronics beyond taking up space. Lithium-ion batteries have started house fires, for example. Tossing these devices isn’t an option because their chemicals contaminate waterways and soil. According to the United Nations’ E-Waste Monitor, only 17% of global hazardous electronic-waste (e-waste) was collected and recycled, meaning high-value metals and other recoverable materials – conservatively valued at $57 billion – were quite literally burned or dumped. We’ve compiled a few ways to help you clear space and your conscience.
Does your device turn on?
Short of a paperweight, there aren’t many ways to repurpose a device that doesn’t power up. Amazon (among some big tech retailers, supermarkets, and others) offers a hassle-free recycling program. Using the Amazon WEEE Takeback Program you can submit a request to send your old devices off for recycling free of charge. You can also visit a Designated Collection Facility (DCF) run by your local authority, find your nearest drop point here.
Repurpose – Use the last generation smartphone as a bedside alarm clock, smart TV remote or Alexa-enabled light switch. There are plenty of apps, like ClockPhone, that can give your smart device new life.
Sell – Older model: Some “vintage” devices fetch big bucks on eBay. Certain models of the now-discontinued iPod command up to £20,000, so it’s worth a search before you write it off as junk.
Recent model: Many wireless carriers will offer trade-ins for devices they still sell in-store. However, there are some online selling options, like Music Magpie and Zapper, that will give you a cash offer in minutes and provide you a shipping label for free.
Donate – There are a variety of local options for donating your electronics, like to schools or libraries in need of computer mice or monitors. An alternative is to contact a local charity shop or organisation to see if they are looking for any stock or devices for use.
Sources: ctvnews.ca; unu.edu; amazon.com; reuters.com; money.com; electronics.howstuffworks.com; hometoys.com; zdnet.com; ewastemonitor.info