Tomorrow marks the 17th annual America Recycles Day, a community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting recycling.

Around the country, groups are getting into the spirit with special events:

  • University of Tennessee student volunteers are collecting recyclables during the big game against the University of Kentucky as part of an America Recycles Day–themed GameDay Recycling Challenge
  • Malibu residents are dropping off polystyrene foam that will turn into recycled surfboard blanks and other products through Waste to Waves
  • Virginia-based nonprofit Bikes for the World  will donate its 100,000th set of wheels.

While every day is a recycling day here at Earth911, we love any special day that encourages people to learn about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling, and make a change in behavior.

With the holidays fast approaching and new gadgets likely to be hidden among the wrapping paper, what better way to celebrate than to give your old electronics a chance to become something new? Here are a few of our favorite programs:

Many people have a well-loved but past-its-prime phone hanging around in a drawer, not to mention a rechargeable battery or two. Some rechargeable batteries can contain potentially harmful materials, such as heavy metals like lead, cadmium and nickel, so disposing of them properly is important (and the law in some U.S. states and Canadian provinces).

That’s where Call2Recycle comes in, with a network of more than 30,000 collection sites throughout North America to take those cellphones and batteries off your hands. Since 1996, the program has diverted more than 75 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream. In 2012 alone, they collected more than 10 million pounds of batteries. Yours could be next! Find a location here.

reconnect-infographic-650Dell Reconnect
It’s estimated that 3 billion pounds of computers and electronics are stashed in closets, attics and garages. Don’t be part of that statistic — instead, contribute to the 374 million–plus pounds that have been recycled since 2004 by Dell Reconnect, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill.

With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, it’s easy to drop off your used computer equipment (any brand, any condition). Your donation is either refurbished and resold through Goodwill, or the parts are responsibly recycled, with no environmentally sensitive materials sent to landfills and no items exported to developing countries. Find a location here.

projectrebootISRIProject Reboot
A partnership with our friends at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Project Reboot has a simple goal: to get more people to recycle electronics. Currently, only 25 percent of eligible used household electronics are recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency — if you think that’s too low, take the Project Reboot Electronics Recycling Pledge and vow to turn over those old laptops, cellphones, tablets, and other electronics to a certified recycler. Find a recycler near you.

Feature image courtesy of Fabrizio Sciami

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.