When you toss out our old tech, it is known as eWaste. eWaste is quite harmful to the environment because of the materials that go into creating your gadgets. Once your old tech is dumped into a landfill or incinerated in a furnace, harmful chemicals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and barium and leech into the earth surrounding them as well as the air. If these chemicals are spread into the ground, then they can also contaminate water and plants as well. The experts from Tech2U have a few tips on what to do when your old tech is ready to hit the bricks, but don’t go out and smash that old phone just yet!
First, check to see if your device has any value left in it. What you once paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for is probably worth at least twenty bucks to somebody, right? A good place to start is Gazelle.com, as they offer good pricing on recent generations of smartphones or tablets. Gazelle.com is best for newer, working items, so selling that Nokia phone with Snake installed on it might be a bit ambitious. If you are unable to get anything from your first option, look into Amazon’s Trade In Program. You can exchange a wide variety of electronics such as: video games, cameras, TV’s, and accessories for Amazon gift cards. The only catch here is that the item must be in “acceptable” condition, which is to be judged by Amazon upon arrival of the item. Staples also has an eCash Card incentive for trading in old tech. They will give you a quote for your item, and if it is in working condition, they will offer an eCash card.
So what do you do if the item you are trying to get rid of has no value? Well, if it is a large item like an old tube television or a home appliance, go online to eWasteForGood.com, fill out the online form to schedule a pickup of your electronics or appliances, but the best part about this service is that based on what you decide to donate, eWaste For Good will donate an equivalent amount to a charity or non-profit of your choosing. If your old tech is small, you can take it into Best Buy and drop it off in the recycling kiosks by the front door. There is no fee for in-store drop off of items of any size, and electronics in all conditions are accepted. If you have a big item to recycle at Best Buy, simply take it to the Customer Service area.
Before you run to a nearby recycling center, remember to be sure that all of your personal information is removed from the device that you are throwing away. For Windows users, visit Fileshredder.org, it is a free service that will write over the area of the hard drive that files were stored in. If you are using a Mac and have OSX, this feature has been built into your Disk Utility Menu and you do not need any additional software. For Mobile devices, find the “Restore Factory Default Settings” option so that all of your app data and apps that you have installed will be overwritten. The old device will be back to the way it was when you first bought it If you are using an Android device, enable the “Encrypt Phone” option before restoring the phone or tablet. When you encrypt your device, it makes any data that is retrieved off of the device after the restore unusable. Newer iPhones and iOS mobile devices automatically encrypt data on the device which is a nice security feature.