Don’t Waste Your E-Waste: Put it to Work


In 2012, the United Nations reported that in five years, the world’s electronic waste would grow by 33% from 49.7 million tons to 65.4 million tons—that’s the weight of 200 Empire State Buildings or 11 Great Pyramids of Giza.

Nearly five years after that prediction, we have arrived.

Of the estimated $655.8 billion the National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend this holiday season, a good majority will be spent on electronic devices, which will be replacing current electronic devices, and which will eventually be replaced by newer, more improved electronic devices.

You get the idea.

In California, it is illegal to throw certain electronic devices—phones, TVs, laptops, computer monitors, DVD players, VCRs, etc.—in the trash. Fortunately, there are many options available that can keep them out of California’s waste stream and keep you from throwing them into a drawer or tripping over them in the garage.ecoatm01

You can get money for them. Places like EcoATM will give you cash for your devices. If you send your device to online source Gazelle, you will get a check in return.

You can donate them to a nonprofit. Cell Phones for Soldiers provides cost-free communication services to active-duty military and veterans. New or gently used mobile phones turn into hours of free talk time for the soldiers. Verizon’s HopeLine helps support victims and survivors of domestic violence while ensuring that phones are reused in an environmentally responsible way. Secure the Call provides free 911 emergency-only cell phones to Senior Citizen Centers, Domestic Violence Shelters and Police and Sheriff Departments.

You can recycle them. California, the United States leader in renewable energy and recycling, passed the Electronic Waste Recycling Act in 2003. The Act required consumers to pay a point-of-purchase recycling fee when buying a new electronic device in the state, which, in turn, funds recycling programs such as CalRecycle. Electronic devices that cannot be reused or repaired can be recycled at any eRecycle location throughout the state.To find a local e-waste recycling center, visit or call (800) RECYCLE.


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