Dear Recycling Bins: Our Weekly Advice Column
Welcome to our weekly advice column where we look at all things recycling and give you the answers you’re desperately seeking.
Dear Recycling Bins,
I cycle to work, I recycle when I can, and I never leave a thing on standby. The only thing is, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to gadgets. I’m really into computers, laptops, games consoles, sound systems - you name it.
I’ve seen a lot of people just dump their computers or put them in the garage and forget about them (I’m also guilty as charged, my garage is chock full of old monitors and a few printers.)
How can I satisfy my need for the latest gadgets without harming the planet?
An eco-conscious lover of all things tech.
Dear Tech lover,
Congratulations on leaving the car at home and recycling, and for making sure nothing is left switched on that doesn’t need to be. You’re single-handedly tackling global warming!
Don’t worry about being a bit of a gadget nerd, there are many of us, and you can certainly make green choices when it comes to technology.
When you’re searching for things online, instead of using Google, why not use Ecosia, a search engine that was launched back in 2009 and that uses its profits to plant trees. To date, 58 million trees have been planted in 17 countries.
I assume you have the latest smartphone? Instead of updating your phone at every opportunity, why not hold onto it for a bit longer or buy a refurbished phone? Both of these will cut down on the emissions produced in the smartphone manufacturing process. If you really want to get a new phone, you have a few choices (don’t put it in your general waste as when e-waste is dumped in landfill, heavy metals can leach into the soil and harmful gases are released into the atmosphere.)
- You can recycle your old one to prevent unnecessary waste. Under The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, manufacturers and retailers of electrical goods whether they sell them directly, from the internet, by mail order or over the phone have to provide a free return service for old products if customers upgrade.
- You can take it to a designated local authority recycling point or household waste recycling centre that accepts electronics
- You can donate it to charity or pass it on to friends or family
- You could sell it on eBay or trade it in for cash online
Of course, this goes for all types of electronics. The best way to reduce waste is to not buy too many electricals in the first place, and dispose of unwanted items responsibly when they reach the end of their life.