Eco-Rep Green Corner: Disposal of technology made easy

E-waste, techno trash, e-trash; you’ve heard of it, but what exactly is it? Well, one thing’s for sure: it’s the newest concern for recycling enthusiasts. A shocking 90 percent of electronics aren’t recycled. In fact, most sit around collecting dust because people just don’t know what to do with them. The e-waste that people do throw away contaminates landfills with its hazardous components such as mercury and cadmium.

It’s frightening to think that Americans are so uneducated when it comes to recycling electronics because most never make an effort to find that sort of information. In reality, it is quite simple to discard techno trash. Recycling programs are available everywhere. The key is to locate these resources and take advantage of them. As the next generation of technological innovation, it is our responsibility to properly dispose of our waste.

According to the National Recycling Coalition, between 1997 and 2007, 500 million computers were replaced for newer, up-to-date models. So what did people do with their old PCs? Some may have taken the easy route and tossed them to the curb, while others may have taken the more eco-friendly route by doing their research. Unfortunately, Rider Sustainability is unable to accept computers in techno trash bins, but many local programs accept them. Best Buy, for example, will recycle any brand of computer at any time. The only restriction is that you must remove the hard drive, or they can remove it for you for $9.99. If you decide to try removing it yourself, there is an easy-to-follow video on www.geeksquad.com. Any Dell computer can be dropped off at Staples to be recycled for free while any other brand will be accepted for $10. Similarly, Hewlett Packard will recycle your old HP computer when you purchase a new one, and Apple runs the same program. Don’t want to throw away your computer because it’s still usable? Use Best Buy’s trade-in program to turn in your unwanted electronics in exchange for a gift card to the store.

Cell phones last, on average, seven years, but most people replace theirs every 11 months. According to CNN, 130 million cell phones were thrown away in 2006. However, if people had decided to recycle them, 90 percent of the cell phone materials could have been reused. There are very few excuses considering that T-Mobile, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and LG all offer free recycling. These programs are set up so conveniently that anyone can print pre-paid shipping labels to mail out their old phones, regardless of brand or condition. Verizon Wireless has drop-off bins at its stores for people to dispose of unwanted phones. If you are part of the Rider community, cell phone recycling is even easier. Simply toss any phone in one of the many techno trash containers around campus, and Rider Eco-Reps will take care of the proper disposal.

Techno trash not only accepts cell phones, but many other used electronics, working or not. Among some of the accepted items are printer cartridges, CDs, DVDs, batteries, iPods and other small electronics. Look out for our green bins located in the library and residence halls and take advantage of our easy electronic recycling system.

-Stephanie Eppolito

Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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