Reuse and Recycle Electronic Waste

Tabitha Alterman
November/December 2005
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Today is Black Friday, the day when retailers can hope to get 'out of the red' and 'in the black,' as American consumers spend more money than on any other shopping day of the year.

All this spending means Americans will end up with plenty of old gadgets that need a new home. Today, one of the most important environmental concerns is waste disposal. Because our electronic technology is advancing at an extremely rapid pace, it is time to consider what to do with our outmoded computers and other electronic devices.

Some Alarming Numbers:

  • Every single year, Americans throw away 2 MILLION TONS of electronic products!

  • Of the 2 million tons of e-waste, 50 MILLION computers and 130 MILLION cell phones are tossed!

  • The federal government disposes of 10,000 computers every week!

Fortunately, effective solutions to the problem of e-waste are beginning to emerge. Some states are hitting consumers where it hurts ? in the wallet ? to combat the problem. For example, in California it costs $6 to $10 to dispose of an e-waste item. Some companies, such as Retrobox are taking advantage of the situation by selling discarded electronic machinery, still in working condition, at bargain prices. You may also find a home for your functional electronic trash at Freecycle or eBay. Freecyclers trade used goods with one another in local communities, at no cost. Ebay users often auction their used electronics at great deals. If your electronic waste is not in working condition, visit Earth911 for information about how you can recycle it.

You can also try finding your holiday gifts on these Web sites, or check out Mother Earth Shopping for great 'green' gift ideas.

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