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Out With the Old: How to Recycle Your Old Electronics

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Did you get a bright and shiny new laptop for the holidays? Are you starting the new year by cleaning out the clutter — including that old cell phone? Eventually, our various devices need a new place to call home, and it’s important that we dispose of them properly. Recycling your old products not only allows their valuable components to be reused, it also keeps toxic substances out of our environment. For example, one million cell phones contain approximately 35,000 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, and 75 lbs of gold that can be recovered and reused if recycled correctly. The energy saved by recycling one million laptops could power more than 3500 homes for a year. So, how do you ensure your discarded devices are being diligently disposed of? Our residential electricians have collected all the info you need below. Read on for our recycling rules and regulations.

Totally Wiped Out

Before your laptop or mobile device leaves your hands, make sure there is no personal data on it. Most of the major manufacturers have online how-to guides that can be easily found with a quick google search. Just in case your phone or laptop ends up in unscrupulous hands, you’ll want to be certain you’ve destroyed any sensitive content or identifying information.

Return to Sender

Many manufacturers will take your old products back at their stores or allow you to print prepaid shipping labels to mail them back. A few, including Apple, will even offer credit for items that are still in working condition. In addition to Apple, Dell, LG, HP, Canon, Samsung, and Sony will recycle your items directly. Check their websites for more info on individual policies and procedures.

Back to the Big Box

Many big box stores including Best Buy and Staples will accept your old electronics in-store for recycling. Best Buy also has an online recycling option. It’s okay if you didn’t purchase your items from the store where you’re recycling them — just show up with your old laptop, mobile device, or TV, and you’re all set.

Keep Austin Wired

Travis County residents can also take advantage of the Resource Recovery Center in south Austin. In addition to accepting pretty much anything that plugs in, you can also dispose of hazardous items such as cleaning products, car and household batteries, fluorescent lightbulbs, paint, and pesticides. And if there’s something you need, you’re welcome to browse the discarded items in the ReUse store and take them home at no cost.

Donation Station

For items still in working condition, consider giving them a second life by donating them to a favorite nonprofit or charitable organization. Check the organization’s website or contact them directly to learn what items they accept and the best way to deliver your items. Again, be sure your donation is free of any personal data, and ask for a receipt, so that you can get a tax deduction.

Start your new year off right by giving your old electronics a fresh start! And if your holiday giving and receiving yielded a new appliance or lighting fixture still in need of installation, contact your residential electrician to get the job done quickly and 2018 off to a better, brighter start.

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