Recycling Gadgets the Green

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Although the third R of green gadgets is recycle, it doesn't necessarily mean that the items you want to dispose of will be broken down into parts and ground up, melted, or otherwise destroyed. As I say in the preceding section, the terms recycle and reuse are sometimes interchangeable. For example, if you have someone repair or update a working gadget or computer that you don't want or need and then put it back into someone else's hands, that process qualifies as both recycling and reusing. And yes, a bit of rethinking and reducing take place in the mix.

Why do I talk more about trying to reuse or repurpose gadgets instead of sending them off to a recycler? Here's where the rethinking comes into play. Think about recycled paper. It comes from existing paper that is collected, processed, and then repurposed as new paper. By selling a gadget or giving it away, you're repurposing it, but you're also essentially recycling it. What's cool here is that you're skipping the processing part of breaking down a m m gadget the way a recycler would when the gadget has truly reached its end. What's more, reusing or repurposing a gadget means not having to purchase a new product to replace it, which in turn means you're reducing the resources and energy required to manufacture, package, ship, and use a new gadget.

(ftNG/ Something you don't want to reuse is personal information that might be stored on a computer or gadget that you're giving away. Most repurposing programs promise to securely erase your personal information from your gadgets or computers before they send them to their eventual recipients. Regardless, I recommend checking out Chapter 15, where I show you how to prevent potentially unscrupulous recipients from snatching your personal information from unwanted gadgets and computers that you're saying goodbye to.

Here are some other places to look to incorporate recycling into your greener gadget lifestyle:

✓ Computer manufacturer's Web site: Check to find out more about the manufacturer's take-back, trade-in, and recycling programs.

✓ Electronics trade-in Web sites: Visit these sites to see whether your still-working but unwanted gadgets, computers, and other electronics can earn you cash or credit toward a new purchase.

✓ Your local newspaper's classified ads or an Internet auction: Sell your unwanted gadgets, computers, and other working but unwanted electronic products in your local newspaper's classified ads, or sell or auction them on the Web.

✓ Any major wireless provider's retail store: Drop off your working but unwanted mobile phone so that it can be repurposed or properly recycled. (Don't forget the charger and any accessories you no longer want.)

✓ Your local video game store, such as GameStop or EB Games: Trade in your unwanted but working video game consoles, games, and accessories for store credit.

✓ A nearby or nationwide reputable recycler of e-waste (e-cycler):

Properly disposing of broken or otherwise hopelessly useless electronics rather than throwing them in the trash reduces potential hazards to the environment, and may also reduce waste if parts and materials can be extracted and reused or manufactured into new products.

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