Instead of tossing techno-waste in the trash, where it ultimately ends up polluting the planet, go eco with these earth-conscious strategies.
CDs and Other Media
No point in hanging on to all those discs you've uploaded. Same goes for your DVDs and video games that are so last year. Sell or swap at sites like secondspin.com and gamestop.com. Or recycle them for free at a Best Buy store.
Find out how to dispose of your brand of phone by checking the information at digitaltips.org. Or look for complimentary drop boxes at retailers such as Target and Best Buy.
Return tired towers, monitors, and laptops to their manufacturers. Some companies, like Apple, offer gift cards toward new models. (Find details at digitaltips.org.) Staples, RadioShack, and Office Depot accept computers as well as keyboards, printers, scanners, and more for free or a small fee. And the following cool sites will recycle some items without charge: gazelle.com and nextworth.com. Check each for details.
Drop off just about any used gear—TVs, DVD players, iPods, digital cameras, camcorders, remotes, speakers, and video game equipment—at Best Buy. The store will responsibly recycle your stuff for free or a nominal charge. Tube TVs larger than 30 inches are not accepted, but can be hauled away in exchange for purchasing a new set. Certain items can even be traded in for gift cards or cash; visit bestbuytradein.com for details. For answers to recycling questions and a comprehensive directory, log on to earth911.com. In the market for a new iPod? Best Buy will give you 10 percent off when you return any old model to one of its stores.
Stores like RadioShack, Lowe's, and Home Depot recycle rechargeable batteries for free; search for other drop-off locations near you at call2recycle.org. The single-use kinds, like AAs, no longer contain toxic metals, so it's okay to trash them. However, the casings can leak acid so seal them in a plastic bag first.
Gather CFLs, which have mercury, in a plastic bag and toss them in the designated bins at Lowe's, Home Depot, or Ikea. Your local hardware store may also accept them—call to find out. Get more ideas at earth911.com and type in your zip code.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.