How To Responsibly Dispose Electronics

A relatively new problem faced by the common man, woman, child and/or pet (you’d be surprised) in the present day is: How do we deal with the growing mountain of electronics in our possession? What to do with old laptops?  To dispose electronics is not easy and not simple. Cell phones, wearables, laptops, desktops, monitors, keyboards, mice, USB sticks, hard drives, televisions, printers, clocks, weighing scales, mirrors, robot vacuums, fridges – everything’s going electronic, which necessitates a proper, appropriate strategy on dealing with every piece of trash.

 

Consumer Options to Dispose Electronics

What are our options?

  1. Trash

    To responsibly dispose electronics is no easy task, but we'll attempt to wade through our options.

    Certainly the easiest and quickest method for electronics disposal is to simply throw it out into the trash. However, this is extremely unrecommended. We would forgo reclaiming any possible value in our electronics, and we would be piling on further costs to society. How so? Through the electronic waste problem, which has led to dump yards and landfills of electronics in places such as India, China, and parts of Africa. The situation is further compounded by the seepage of harmful materials such as lead, plastics, and mercury into the groundwater of these areas, or the release of toxic gases through burning.

  2. Recycle

    To responsibly dispose electronics is no easy task, but we'll attempt to wade through our options.

    Instead of sending electronics to the landfill, we could send them for recycling. Recycling ensures that valuable, recyclable materials such as precious metals, rare earth materials, and plastics are extracted and processed for the manufacture of new products. This also prevents the very same materials from entering our ground, water, or air. Many local recycling companies provide this service, and not only that, but some computer manufacturers (such as Dell) also offer recycling programs for their products. Wonderful! Unfortunately, recycling also has its drawbacks: it’s an expensive process, does not safeguard data, and still produces a sizable amount of waste.

  3. Sell

    To responsibly dispose electronics is no easy task, but we'll attempt to wade through our options.

    Of course, the best way to reduce waste is to not throw our electronics out at all! If they are still useful and functional, resale remains an option open to us. After all, “one man’s trash could be another man’s treasure.” The drawbacks? We’ll have to wipe data, refurbish, and find customers all by ourselves.

  4. Reuse / Donate

    To responsibly dispose electronics is no easy task, but we'll attempt to wade through our options.

    However, before we start packing up our devices.. Have you explored other options for your electronics? For example, did you know that your old cellphone could double as a baby monitor or a remote control?  Or that your old laptop could be repurposed into a tablet? There are plenty of useful, creative ways we could reuse our electronics. And failing that, why not donate it to ol’ Uncle Joe, Cousin Janet in college, or to a good cause in your local community?

 

What About Enterprise Level Disposal?

That covers the main options open to us for our electronics disposal. This advice was all well and good, BUT what if we have 100 computers to dispose of?! Dispose electronics, in bulk?! Well, in that case:

  1. Leave it in a closet, storage unit or storeroom, for an undetermined amount of time;
  2. Or use your own workforce, hours and resources to accomplish one of the aforementioned methods;
  3. Or find an IT Asset Disposition service that will do it for you.

IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is a service where a provider buys your devices from you and subsequently wipes all stored data, completes repairs and refurbishment as necessary, and repurposes these devices for other purposes. Some ITAD providers in the Indianapolis area include Cloudblue, Arrow, IT Goldmine, and of course, Multiply.

And with that, we’ve found responsible options for getting rid of our electronic waste! Remember, find responsible ways to dispose electronics. Your kids will thank you later.

To responsibly dispose electronics is no easy task, but we'll attempt to wade through our options.

 

Image Credit: Torange (Cover), Wikimedia Commons (Trash, Recycle, Sale, Reuse), Pixabay (Celebration).