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Recycling Electronics

December 30, 2009

Chances are good you'll get something with a microchip in it tomorrow morning, and that means you'll probably be getting rid of your old laptop, cell phone, camera, or GPS device shortly afterward. Nothing wrong with cleaning house, but remember that most gadgetry can and should be recycled, so be sure to dispose of that gear responsibly.

With that in mind, the Consumer Electronics Association offers some reminders and tips on how to recycle your old gear, and it's all good advice:

> Start with the manufacturer -- Most equipment makers now have "take back" programs, many of which are free. The retail outlet where you bought the item originally may also offer a recycling plan. Best Buy takes any and all electronics, too. Also, be sure to check with your city, as many towns operate recycling programs as well.

> Not all recyclers are created equal -- Some less savory outfits don't recycle products but rather ship them to third-world countries where they are scrapped and melted down and ground up into silicon salumi, creating a problem worse than merely dumping it all in a landfill. Ask your recycler what they do with recycled gadgets, and check with the ISRI and ICER, two recycling trade groups, to see if your recycler is a member. (Find links in the story linked above.)

> Donation is even better -- If your equipment is still in working order, there's no reason to scrap it. Give it to Goodwill or another charity for re-use.

> Wipe that data -- It's critical to fully erase and scrub any hard drives, memory cards, and cell phone memory before you donate or scrap it. Used gear is a common source for the information used for identity theft.

> Start with a green product -- Many new electronics devices are using recycled or biodegradable materials when they are initially produced, making them more attractive for the environmentally conscious.

More recycling tips can be found in the full story here.

As a side note, this is my last post of the year for Yahoo! Tech, as we're off next week, returning to active duty on January 4, 2010 as we head into CES (and I enter, gulp, my fifth year of writing this blog). On behalf of Ben Patterson and myself, I'd like to thank all of you -- and especially those of you who've found us recently -- for reading our daily high-tech musings, for passing our stories along to your friends, for sending us your many emails and IMs, for your story ideas and tech questions, and for your thousands and thousands of comments. Happy holidays to all of you, and best wishes for the New Year. 2010 is going to rock, I can feel it.

Source: Yahoo Tech

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