We all have that box in the back of the closet that’s full of old tangled cables, chargers and outdated electronics. Though we have absolutely no idea what any of these cables are for, the thought of throwing them away seems wrong. We hold on to them just in case we need to charge that Motorola RAZR flip phone from 2004. But, if you haven’t used anything inside that box of tangled cords, it’s time to get rid of it – responsibly. Before even considering tossing that box out in the trash, know the facts about e-waste and its impact on our environment.
According to the EPA, 85% of our electronic trash is sent to landfills and incinerators and is considered the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America. It’s imperative to dispose electronics safely as many of them contain metals and dangerous chemicals, like lead or mercury, that overtime could leak into our water and air. Though that doesn’t mean you can simply throw them into your recycling bin. Chances are your local recycling program won’t accept them. However, there are several options to take care of that box of outdated tech responsibly.
First things first – it’s time to sort through the mess. Old batteries should be set aside for proper recycling. Cables and cords can be wrapped and organized, while old phones, tablets and laptops should be sorted in their own stack. If possible, it’s best to pair the corresponding cable or cables to the electronic and secure them together with a rubber band. Before donating any phones or laptops, back up any information on these gadgets and wipe the memory clear. Remove any SIM cards from your phones. This is extremely helpful to the organizations accepting your gadgets. If there’s old headphones or cables that look worn or frayed, chances are they don’t work – place those items in your discard pile for recycling.
Many electronic stores, like Best Buy, offer recycling programs to dispose of your old tech in a safe manner. Additionally, many communities offer e-cycling events. For example, the city of Chicago hosts dozens of drop-off recycling events throughout the year for residents along with a handful of standalone locations for Chicagoans to drop off their used electronics. Nationwide there are several recycling programs, such as Call2Recyle, that provide recycling options for both consumers and businesses. Call2Recycle offers an online location tracker for in-person recycling drop-offs as well as an option to ship your used devices and batteries.
The simplest way to dispose of your outdated tech is to donate them and drop them off at your local thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Or, if you’re looking to help educate your community on the importance of e-waste and technology in general, there are many educational programs available for students that would gladly accept your used cables and electronics. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs across the country take these electronics to use in their laboratories. Though it might require a bit of time to find these particular programs nearby, you can start your search by looking up STEM programs in your area. Not all local universities will accept these types of donations, so another option is to reach out to local public schools who may need computer supplies for students such as charging cables or laptops.
Most of the time, we tend to buy products that are inexpensive. These products are usually made of inexpensive materials and built to last for only a brief period of time. However, before you know it, these cheap cables and electronics stop working and either end up in that same box in the back of your closet or in our landfills if not disposed of properly. Buying smart is the solution to this revolving door of e-waste.
Brands like Elixage believe in quality and creating technology accessories of a different caliber with advanced technology. That’s why Elixage only uses premium materials and certify products to ensure each is designed to yield an unmatched level of quality and safety by testing for stress, mechanical, electrical and device compatibility. Each cable and charger built by Elixage is designed to last through everyday use. Not only is this helping reduce e-waste in our landfills, but overtime will save you money and hassle. By purchasing a long lasting Elixage cable, charger or power bank, you’re making a responsible choice that not only benefits our environment, but also your bank account. For a full list of fast charging and thoughtfully made products click here.
Though our world and technology are constantly evolving, it’s up to consumers and brands like Elixage to continue making the choices necessary to better our planet overall. By taking the simple steps of properly disposing of our outdated electronics safely and being more mindful when purchasing products, we can help cut down on e-waste and contribute to a more sustainable way of life.