I’ve been in a de-cluttering process since the fall. Often my cleaning up efforts involve moving piles from one area to another; very little stuff seems to leave the house. This time, I’m actually going through every box of junk in the basement to determine what things we can let go of.
I’m ready to face the fact that we’ve been lugging around containers of cassette tapes, VHS movies and old computer disks for years. Why? I can more easily watch That Thing You Do via streaming Netflix than fire up the old VCR, and those mix tapes from early in our relationship, while touching, can only be heard if we’re riding in my husband’s old Honda. Which we almost never are.
Yet I didn’t want to toss all that material into the trash. It begs the question: how can I safely dispose of old electronics?
- GreenDisk This one-stop service not only recycles all your technotrash, they also erase every scrap of data from said electronic materials in order to protect your privacy. A short list of items they accept includes: computers and related devices, CDs, phones, MP3 players, rechargeable batteries, cameras, film, even floppy disks and Beta tapes. You choose the package you want ($10 to ship 25 pounds of stuff, or get a Technotrash Can for the office at varying prices) and they take care of the rest, which involves refurbishing some items and properly recycling the rest.
- Best Buy and Verizon For those who’d rather not pay to get rid of stuff, Best Buy accepts many electronic items for recycling, although their list is not as extensive as GreenDisk. See what items your local Best Buy will recycle. Verizon recycles mobile phones, tablets and hotspot devices from any carrier— postage paid by them. For every device, they donate $1 to HopeLine in support of domestic violence victims (and you may be eligible to receive a Verizon gift card).
- Back Thru the Future This company offers free CD and DVD recycling (you pay shipping costs). They also offer astonishing facts: (1) It takes 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of crude oil and 24 gallons of water to manufacture 1 pound of class 7 plastic or 30 CDs; and (2) one CD takes about 1 million years to decompose in the landfill!
- Cash for CDs Make some money on your old CDs, DVDs and games. Enter what you have into this website, and they’ll send you a quote. They even pay for the postage. Gazelle is another site where you can sell or trade old Apple items or smartphones from other carriers.
- Freecycle And don’t forget your local Freecycle network. There’s almost always someone who wants something you have. Sign up to receive posts about what’s available or wanted in your area.