We live in a disposable goods world. There are disposable razors, disposable cell phones, disposable diapers, and more. “Disposable” sounds so convenient, so harmless. However, as we all know, disposable usually means “headed for the landfill.” With Earth Day coming up (April 22), this seems like an appropriate time to conider how to properly dispose of all of our disposable stuff.
Throughout the year, there are facilities that will take your old TVs, computers, cell phones and such for recycling. Typically, though, you’ll have to pay for the privilege. Maybe that’s why so much of this stuff ends up being tossed out with the trash.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that less than 20 percent of all discarded TVs, computers, and cell phones get recycled. The rest end up in landfills.
Fortunately, there are better alternatives.
This week, lots of places around the country are accepting electronic gear for recycling at no cost. In the Chicago area, where we live, the Brookfield Zoo and the two University of Phoenix locations are accepting unwanted electronics.
The Village of Schaumburg, IL is holding a free event where you can bring electronic items and a lot more for recycling.
Best Buy takes electronics for recycling at no cost all year, including cell phones and electronic cables.
You may be able to get some money for your old cell phone through Cell for Cash or donate it to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a charity that sells the phones to a recycling company and uses the proceeds to buy calling cards for U.S. soldiers.
Radio Shack accepts a variety of electronic items, providing credit that can be applied toward the purchase of new items. The company also accepts used rechargeable batteries for recycling.
At Call 2 Recycle you can enter your zip code to find other places that accept rechargeable batteries for recycling.
For batteries of all types, try Walgreens. Not all stores participate in the recycling program, so call your local store to find out whether it’s part of the program.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling
Many Home Depot stores accept compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) for recycling.
Ikea stores also accept CFLs.
Ink Cartridge Recycling
Other Recycling Options
Some libraries and schools also accept items for recycling.
The EPA lists of manufacturers and other organizations that recycle TVs, computers, and cell phones.
The Earth Day Network lists recycling and other events by zip code.
What other companies do you know of that accept items for recycling?
One other Earth Day item of note: On April 22nd, bring a travel mug to Starbucks and they’ll fill it for free with coffee or tea. This tip comes courtesy of Free Things to do in Chicago (check this site for a list of all the cities where it keeps track of free things to do).
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