Give Gadgets a New Life

Each year, as technology gets faster and sleeker, people decide whether to hold on to their beloved device for a little bit longer, or jump on the bandwagon and buy the newest, coolest gadget that is all the buzz. Regardless of where you fall in this spectrum, the three R’s (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) can be applied to electronics.

collage of modern cell phones

Reduce

The best way to conserve resources and save money over the long term is to keep using your device until it doesn’t work anymore and can no longer be repaired. You can extend the life of your electronics by choosing devices with replaceable batteries that can be easily disassembled for repair.  Do your research before you buy on websites such as IFIXIT.com to find out how easy it will be to repair your gadget if it breaks.

Reuse

If your gadget is still in good working condition, then you can give it a new life.  Some places even accept broken or damaged devices that can be repaired and sold or used for parts.

  1. Pass it along to a friend or family member;
  2. Sell it or trade it in – most major cell phone carriers offer trade in for credit towards a new device; or
  3. Donate it to a local charity or nonprofit

Recycle

Once you bring home your new beauty, don't just throw your old gadget in the trash.  Electronics are bad for landfills. Many electronic devices contain toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium that can leach into the ground and contaminate our water. Because almost 20 percent of Florida is covered by water, our state is especially vulnerable to contamination from improperly disposed electronics.

Electronics also contain valuable materials that can be recovered. According to the EPA, "One metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the United States."

In Florida, most counties offer electronics recycling through their household hazardous waste programs.  Find out where to take electronics for recycling on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s End-of-Life Electronics website.

Don’t forget to erase each device of any personal information before it leaves your possession. 

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