The following is an excerpt from KELLI B. GRANT | April 19, 2012 | Smartmoney.com |
Earth Day celebrants have some new ways to go green — and get a little green — by clearing their homes of old electronics.
Electronics retailers and manufacturers increasingly encourage customers to be more responsible with their discarded devices, initiating trade-in programs and opening drop-off locations. Earlier this month, Sears opened trade-in desks at 190 Kmart stores, letting shoppers swap their old gadgets for gift cards. Amazon, Target, J&R and Gamestop all launched or expanded similar programs within the past year, too. The stores typically resell or donate gadgets when possible, and properly recycle them if not, says Time Doyle, a spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association.
The effort has paid off — somewhat. E-waste recycling jumped 53% last year, with landfills spared some 460 million pounds of consumer electronics, according to the CEA. Still, many old phones, computers and gadgets continue to get thrown in the trash every day. By the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest estimates, some 75% of electronics ready for “end-of-life management” are trashed rather than recycled, leaching potentially dangerous toxins back into the ground.
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