Tips: eCycling

If you received the latest electronics you wished for during the holidays, what will you do with your old stuff?

Making a New Year's resolution to donate or recycle your old electronics -- old cell phones, computers and televisions -- is one way to share more good tidings and help the environment, EPA says.

Donate for Reuse

Donating working electronics and game boxes saves valuable resources by extending the life of the products. Working electronics can be donated to community groups, local schools and nonprofit organizations. If you can, include original software and licensing information with the donated equipment. Be sure to erase personal data before donating them.

Can't Donate? Recycle.

Broken electronics and computers too outdated to donate can be recycled. Computer monitors and older television picture tubes can pollute the environment if not recycled or disposed properly. Check with your product's manufacturer to see if they will take back or trade in your product for recycling -- many manufacturers do including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Toshiba and Sony. See if your retailer has an in-store collection program or if they are hosting an electronics collection event. Cingular, Best Buy and Staples offer ongoing in-store collection of used cell phones, and Best Buy and Staples sometimes host collection events. Local governments often collect electronics as part of their household hazardous waste management program.

Purchasing Electronics

Hopefully all your old and new electronics have the Energy Star logo. Buying Energy Star products helps your pocketbook and the environment by reducing the amount of electricity needed. See http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm or http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/specials/funfacts/ecycling.htm for more information on donating and recycling electronics.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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