Thursday, July 16, 2009

Trash to Treasure: Effortless Electronics Recycling


Please welcome fellow green blogger, Beth Buczynski, a freelance writer in Colorado. Her very useful post follows:

Do you have hazardous e-waste in the form of phones, televisions, VCRs, or computer monitors cluttering up your spare room or garage?

Cast off for their newer, faster replacements, you know these gadgets should be recycled, or donated, but there never seems to be a good time to sit down and find a place that will accept them ('cause you sure can't put them at the curb with your bottles and cans). And then there's the worry that the electronics "recycler" might just ship them overseas where they'll be picked over and incinerated.

Would getting paid to recycle your e-waste help motivate you to make it happen?
Well here are several online companies willing to do just that. All you have to do is search for your device, agree to sell it back at the offered price, ship it in and wait for your check!

Gazelle provides a practical, responsible, rewarding way for consumers to get value for used electronics. So, instead of the under-whelming experience of leaving your old phones, faxes and video games to an unknown fate at a semi-annual recycling event, you can be handsomely rewarded for disposing of your e-waste responsibly and rest easy knowing a reputable organization will be putting your things to good re-use. Even if Gazelle can't make you an offer for your Zac Morris phone, they'll still let you send it in for recycling at no charge.

YouRenew is another company dedicated to taking the hassle out of selling or recycling your old devices: you don’t need to make an account, use your credit card, or pay for shipping. Also for each item you recycle with YouRenew, they'll give you the choice to make a positive impact on the environment. They’ve partnered with Carbonfund.org and Americanforests.org to allow users to donate the price of their electronics towards domestic renewable energy or reforestation efforts, respectively. YouRenew.com also offsets all of its carbon emissions through CO2stats.com.


But what if it still works?
If you’ve recently upgraded a phone, television or other popular electronic appliance, but the old version still works, it might seem like a waste just to ship it off to a recycler, even if there are few bucks in it for you. If no one in your immediate circle of friends can find a use for the item, consider putting it up for grabs on the Freecycle Network, a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who give (& get) stuff for free in their own towns. More trust worthy and locally focused than Craig’s List, each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, and start keeping these items out of the landfills and putting them in the hands of people who need them, find your community group at http://www.freecycle.org/.




Beth Buczynski is a freelance copywriter and environmental blogger living in Colorado. Until she can realize her dream of living off the grid, she's content to inspire others to live and laugh more sustainably at the EcoSpheric Blog and several other environmental websites. Connect with Beth on Twitter: @ecosphericblog.



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