With the digital age rapidly advancing, electronic devices have become a part of our daily lives, from smartwatches, tablets, smartphones, and other devices, we are surrounded by technology. However, there is a downside to the constant advancement and revolution of technology as it generates a lot of electronic waste, also known as e-waste. E-waste is a significant environmental concern as not only is there an enormous volume of electronic devices being discarded every year, but many of those devices have toxic components that impact the environment. It's such a concern that the Environmental Protection Agency has a page about sustainable management of electronics on its site.
Making a habit of finding ways to reduce your electronic waste is more important than ever, which is why we’re exploring some helpful e-waste recycling tips to reduce your e-waste footprint and help the environment.
Reducing Your Waste
Before purchasing new electronic products, consider whether or not your current device can last a little longer or if you truly need a new electronic device. Making mindful and informed purchasing decisions is the first step in reducing your e-waste footprint. It’s important to keep in mind that manufacturers often engage in planned obsolescence by knowingly using parts that have a short lifespan, plus they release new versions of the same product that have minor upgrades.
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Reuse The Device
When you have a device that has become outdated or shows signs of wear, the first step isn’t to throw it out but to find a way to refurbish or repair the device. This way, you not only save money by extending the lifespan of your electronic device, but you also reduce the amount of e-waste disposal in the environment.
You may know a knowledgeable technician, repair center, or someone who repairs electronics on the side that can fix your device for less than it would cost to buy a new device. It’s similar to when you have a sock that has a hole in it. You can still wear the sock, but there’s a problem with it. However, with some time to repair the hole, the sock is as good as new.
Recycling – Not Just For Plastic Anymore
Many people still toss plastic and aluminum cans in the trash even though there are ways to recycle them. The same goes for electronic devices, except there are now many e-waste recycling programs out there that offer convenient drop-off points that make it easy to get rid of the electronic device without throwing it away.
An important step to remember before you have your electronics recycled is to remove any sensitive personal data and any documents, audio, and pictures you want to keep. You can also donate your devices to schools, community centers, libraries, charities, and other programs as a way for others to use them and prevent the electronic device from ending up in the landfill
Embracing digital alternatives to everyday things is a great way to minimize paper waste and the demand for physical products. Instead of buying CDs and DVDs, use cloud storage and online services for documents, music, and movies. Instead of printed magazines that eventually get thrown out, choose an online subscription.
Another one of our e-waste recycling tips includes using an app to read e-books instead of purchasing an electronic e-reader device to read purchased books or books from the library. Kindle has an app you can use to read books, and the Libby app lets you digitally check out books from your local library as long as you have a library card. You also don’t have to worry about late returns; the books are automatically released once they’re due.
Charge Devices Wisely
A lot of people keep their laptops plugged in all the time, even once the device has reached full power. We all know someone who does this, and you may be one of those people. However, keeping a laptop or cell phone, or any electronic device plugged in, once the battery is fully charged isn’t good for the device.
Keeping a lithium-based battery plugged in at 100% will drastically shorten the battery’s life cycle, as does using the battery in high-temperature surroundings. Of course, devices like cable boxes, routers, and modems should always be plugged in, but unplugging once your device is charged not only extends the life of the battery but saves on electricity.
Manufacturer Take-Back Programs Exist
There are corporations that participate in takeback programs and offer compensation in the form of gift cards or credits for used equipment that the manufacturer either recycles or refurbishes. These companies with manufacturer takeback programs include Apple, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, and Sony, while companies with retail takeback programs include Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, and others.
Trading or Swapping Devices
Another way to encourage sustainable practices when it comes to electronics is to trade or swap your old electronics with family, friends, or with others in your community or online platforms. Not only do you declutter your home of something you don’t need anymore and reduce e-waste, but you ensure that you find someone nearby who can use your older electronic device. You can find all sorts of devices that you might want, whether it’s a laptop, used solar panels, or cell phones.
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Hopefully, our e-waste recycling tips have sparked some inspiration and have shined a light on how you can play a significant role in reducing e-waste. By incorporating these tips into our lives, you can inspire others to create a path to a greener tomorrow. If you’re thinking about going solar, call Ivan The Solar Guy CA and learn more about your options for going solar.