You already know what Recycling is. Chances are you've been putting your paper, plastic, and glass in the proper bins for years now. But what about that old TV that just got hit by lightning (yes, this just happened to me), the computer monitor that is the size of a small refrigerator, or the old mobile phone that is the size of your computer monitor. Traditional recycling doesn't handle these, and all those hazardous metals shouldn't go to the dump. Enter e-Cycling!
While many appliances can have years added to their life by replacing worn components with parts obtained from www.partselect.com or other reputable suppliers, some appliances just can't be fixed. This blog is usually concerned with conserving Energy or Water, but with all the new energy/water efficient products you’re buying, chances are you’ll have to do something with the old ones, and I don’t want them taking up space in a land fill somewhere!
I recently had to take some electronics to the recycling center and because my local city recycling center didn't take TVs (see aforementioned lightning strike) I had to find another one. Luckily, there are a ton of resources on the web dedicated to helping you find a local electronic recycle location.
Probably the best website for finding local recycling information is Earth911. Once you get past the dramatic name, you realize this site is amazing. They have recycling information on paper, metal, hazardous, plastic, glass, electronics, automotive, household, garden, and construction. Not only do they provide basic information and a blog, but the best part is you can enter in your city/state/zip and find the closest recycling center for the item you need recycled!
Once I found the site closest to me that would recycle TVs (for a $10 charge - which is pretty standard rate for larger items) I heard of another great program that the local eCycler was promoting. Sony electronics has a recycling program in conjunction with Waste Management to take back Sony products from designated eCyclers. From the Waste Management site:
From cameras to televisions, the Sony Take-Back program gives Sony customers a free and convenient way to recycle up to five Sony products per day by dropping them off at designated Waste Management eCycling Drop-Off Centers throughout the country.
If my busted TV was only a Sony I would have saved $10! This is a great example of a corporation demonstrating leadership in their product life-cycle. To find a local eCycler you can take your Sony products to you can use their eCycle Locator.
It may take a little more effort than dumping something on the curb and may cost you a few bucks, but with the rise in popularity of electronic goods (especially if you are upgrading electronics to conserve more resources!), eCycling is a very important part on how we can continue to improve the environment around us.
***Update - 11/03/09 - Since writing this post I found the great site, ecycler. The goal of this site is to connect those who want to recycle their goods with those who are willing to pick them up. They hope that by making it easier for people to collect recycling and sell it to those who can re-manufacture the material, it will increase the rate of recycling. What I like about the site is that they are looking to create a community of those trying to recycle. But the motivation behind the site is not just to help the environment, the site also hopes it will help the market for recycled goods and enable people to make some money by recycling.
When I spoke with Timothy Laurent, one of the ecycler team members and asked how groups could make money from his site he had the following to say:
This is where the groups come in—they could be a Boy Scout Troop, a church group, a 4H club, etc. that (as an individual would) advertise themselves using our marketing materials. People would seek them out as an alternative (to curbside pickup) and give to the group their recyclables—this is a means for the group to raise money for their cause.
So if you as an individual or as a group would like to increase your recycling efforts (and hopefully make some money as well) check out ecycler.com and get started!