’Tis the Season to Recycle Old Electronics

Recycling old electronics isn't as simple as tossing the desktop in the blue bin. Photo: Shutterstock

Recycling old electronics isn’t as simple as tossing the desktop in the blue bin. Photo: Shutterstock

Stocking up on new smartphones, tablets and gaming systems this holiday season means figuring out what to do with our old gadgets. We want to recycle them, but, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as tossing the old PlayStation 3 in the blue bin.

How do you delete personal data? Where can you take your old electronics for recycling? How much trouble is it to recycle this gear?

To help address these questions, Earth911 and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) have launched Project Reboot, a program that aims to educate the public on recycling electronics responsibly.

“People too often clamor for the latest technology with little knowledge of how to responsibly recycle the gadgets they are replacing,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “The goal of this initiative is to educate people on the environmental, economic and social responsibility of proper electronics recycling, and ultimately to increase the rate over the coming year.”

Education around this topic is needed. Some 75 million Americans have never recycled electronics, primarily because they don’t know how, according to a recent Harris Interactive Poll. The poll also found that:

  • 26 percent of survey respondents did not know where to recycle electronics
  • 16 percent did not know how to recycle them securely
  • 14 percent did not know their device(s) could be recycled
  • 12 percent thought it was too much trouble to recycle
  • 6 percent thought the device(s) were supposed to be disposed of in the trash

“The ability for consumers to find electronic recycling opportunities in their community [is] essential to ensure these obsolete devices are properly handled,” said Brian Dick, Earth911’s chief executive officer. “Our partnership with ISRI and its membership will help educate consumers and help them locate responsible recyclers in their area. We are excited to assist ISRI to create awareness and provide options to an ever-growing industry.”

Project Reboot will bring together businesses, corporations and civic groups to not only focus on the need to recycle electronics, but also on the importance of doing it responsibly through a recycler certified to handle electronics to meet environmental, health and worker safety standards — and that guarantees secure destruction of all personal data.

In addition, there will be an electronics recycling pledge, social media components (including an interactive Facebook page), print materials on how and where to safely recycle, recycling and reuse tips, and more.

For continued coverage of Project Reboot, follow along on Twitter at @RebootProject.

Learn more about responsibly recycling electronics:

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