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Photo collage: electronics recycling day event, computer circuit board, and electronic equipment


Electronics are one of the fastest growing portions of America's trash. Recycling your old electronics is not only smart, but also good for the environment. Learn how to reuse and recycle your old computers, TVs, and cell phones to reduce waste.

Before replacing a computer because it no longer fits your needs, investigate enhancing the computer's capacity by installing a hard disk drive, chip, or memory-expansion card. Such modifications can now be done with little know-how using the help of the manufacturer or a do-it-yourself guide.

Consider buying a used computer. They are cheaper, sold by major manufacturers, and often come with a warranty.

Donate your old computer to a school. Many schools are in need of computers and will be able to make good use of your old machine. Even if the computer isn't working, schools can often get the machine refurbished by in-house technicians.

Each laser toner cartridge that is thrown away adds about four pounds of plastic, metal and chemicals to a landfill. Take your used laser printer ink cartridge to a company that remanufactures cartridges for reuse. Many companies that refurbish the cartridges will offer store credit for your used cartridge.

No matter how old, video games and video game equipment can be sold to many electronics dealers. Another option is to donate old video games to youth charities.

Old electronics (CD players, DVDs, VCRs) make great donations to charitable agencies that provide holiday gifts to low income families. Before you throw away old CDs or DVDs, try trading them with friends, donating them to charitable organizations, nursing homes, libraries, or hospitals.

Some cities and counties provide services to recycle electronics. Contact your city and county recycling offices to learn more. Also visit the Earth 911 Web site Exit EPA for more information.

Buy rechargeable batteries. They can be used for longer periods and will likely be less expensive than disposable batteries in the long run. When using rechargeable batteries, be sure to follow the instructions. The instructions may suggest charging the battery fully before use, otherwise, the battery's lifetime may be diminished.

Before throwing away an old cell phone, call your local county or city services to see if they accept donations, or if they recycle cell phones.

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